Archived Workshops

Paradox of Presence

deathly shadows dart in and out of peripheral view phonemes of truncated sound falter on waves of unrestrained energy knowledge revealed only after last gasp   we live in fragility one breath away from stability rain will cleanse our tears birth seeds of promise...

The Plumber’s Lament

Dear Lord of Digestion, how do humans eat so much light and shit so much darkness? Like the exotic beetle that scribes its life in excretions of ink, they write their lives in bile, bacterial biomasses, nitrogenous matter. I feel sorry for them, every day hanging...

Cuckoo Flower

I knew a woman who said she couldn’t recognize faces. She had a neurological thing with a Latin name. She was a writer, and we were booked at the same reading, and she gave me a head’s up about her inability to recognize faces, and I wondered how this would apply to a...

Three

Three My girl Is vanilla bean, Lies on the floor like a scraggled mop. One day she makes me breakfast. More than a dozen eggs or so. It is all bubble and scramble, And I would tell her everything if I thought she could take it but she can’t, she would curl up like...

Breaking Bread; Repair Girl

Two pieces -- the first with words created from the word generator (smart and end m and start with b, end with d ... with some author flexibility. The second features someone with an odd profession, with a voice different from my usual. Breaking Bread The fungus...

Conjoined

Conjoined I stare back at the people staring at me, as if we’re all lost, befuddled and peculiar. I have two heads to do the staring, two sets of eyes and one body that takes me through crowds, Macy’s and holidays. though it sometimes goes flat when one set of my eyes...

The Adjustment

We don’t greet when I enter the room. He is still fit for a man his age. His strong back to me hovered over a desk, he keeps turning papers in the dark trying to reflect the fading natural light that comes through the sub-basement style window. Like the disinterested...

Red Light

Our eyes meet while caught in a snarl of rush hour traffic, waiting for the light to change. We don’t recognize each other at first. Then we do. Memory flares like a struck match, and suddenly, I’m reliving that awful summer after my divorce and the way you looked...

Stuck, Hung-Up or Stiff?

Sydney Ashley was always getting stuck. Not on thoughts in his mind, but on things. His rubber galoshes would stick like caterpillars mating, even on linoleum floors. Sydney Ashley was always getting hung-up. Not on thoughts in his mind, but on door tops when he...

Little Lord Fauntleroy

His white boots feel daunting- matching the quadratic graphics of his cropped tee. Look at the buffed and polished nails. See how he turns the wigginess of his tanned face? Who does this to themselves? Lacquered couch and armed slouch. Bulletproof patch quilt vest...

a couple of pieces

Barley and Hops Maybe we should have sex tonight or fake it with fries Cab Franc and a clown balloon on hand just so I can feel something anything because this axis isn’t budging and every wasp has stung my ear twice or thrice already as if I’m a glum LA actor with a...

Laundry Day (working title(

When Lucy realized her dead husband was alive in her washing machine, she wondered if she would have to live in dirty clothes. This was not that unusual for Lucy as she had given up all kinds of cleanliness when her husband died. The kitchen sink was mounted with...

No More Glue

Inspired by someone I used to know ... It was an early June Monday morning where things were slow to come alive. Caterpillars stayed balled-up, snails let only a centimeter of an antennae out of their shells, black crows perched silent, motionless, on telephone...

Dear Esther

Hi everyone! This one is a CNF about somebody I never knew. I've been kicking it around for a while--actually started it in a Bending Genres epistolary weekend workshop. It's over the word count--640 words. Only if you have the time (or interest).   Dear Esther,...

Like A Day in the Life

Seargent Peppers Lonely Hearts Club Band A Day in the Life lyrics © Kobalt Music Publishing Ltd., Sony/ATV Music Publishing LLC https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Sgt._Pepper%27s_Lonely_Hearts_Club_Band 6. "A Day in the Life" Lennon with McCartney Song by The Beatles....

Gotham Blues

I am a bit part in this universe; wasn’t the leading man at my own wedding. A minor henchman to a lesser villain. The Penguin only shits on me. I don’t own anything. Can’t claim a territory or place. There’s four bars on every street like it’s Kearny, New Jersey. No...

The Third Ear

Carol Nixon had a third ear, tucked behind her left ear, concealed by thick blond hair. She loved to watch Film ‘92 and Film ‘94 (with Barry Norman), the best years in film by miles. She loved a boy named Simon. It was a romance unhindered by the ear. As far as Simon...

The Line

First, a quick note: I tried for hours (literally) to write to the prompt, and it just wasn't happening. Instead, this happened- a very traditional, ROUGH flash without bells and whistles, that's like a mini-scene for the character in my novel. So, I went with it,...

flying out of toon town

From behind, the flight attendants look a bit like plastic clergy, vestments in yellow, life preservers across shoulders. The kid in the seat in front is playing that soccer game with cars, or he’s watching a video of someone else playing it. Will I ever see my mother...

cleaning up

Cleaning Up I’ve got my fingers inside of someone else. They are quite happy about it. But soon, because nothing lasts, I have left that body, those bodies, and I am in a room in a house I used to live in, and used to live in, and the place is a mess. It wouldn’t...

The Botched Premiere

I'd never seen the poor child look so forlorn hunched over like that, sitting on the boards at far stage right. Diane dangled her long legs over the edge and whimpered for me, "Oh, Grammie Hall, I just know what to do!" I had hurried to her aide, and she dabbed her...

Out of the Fire and Into the Lake

Am I more of a stream feller? I like rapids, and eddies, and I never thought I’d say this but I’d fuck Neil Patrick Harris in the dark alley behind my place on Ludlow. He’d be wearing a Hike Naked t-shirt and would be sporting that actor smirk, leering, that cocky...

En Passant

Hunched in my grandmother’s second floor rental, I ignore my chattering siblings for chess. Play for hours after school with my new class-mate, Ben. Sliding and leaping the plastic chessmen. Glasses of cola fizzing beside us. Ben laughs when he forks my pieces, the...

The Burn

Age twelve and you’re in the living room with mom and Jane Fonda—Jane 2D slim, all headband leg warmers butt floss, mom 3D thick on the avocado shag rug, all sweatsuit struggle to kick high, to kick higher, the T.V. so loud the window panes shudder rattle shake at...

The Rise of the Chrome Jesus

(Paterson, New Jersey, St. Michael The Archangel) A century old parish closes on a Friday. When a Catholic church shutters, its associated parish is said to be suppressed. The parish can then be merged with surrounding parishes in the manner the diocesan bishop sees...

Butterflies: Please read this version

Butterflies My niece, Shelby, has not learned how to lie yet. Or how to slow her waterfall of facts and opinions. When we’re in my butterfly garden playing with her dollhouse dolls, she answers all my questions. “Yes, Mommy cries and yells and sleeps a lot sometimes...

Suerza

[list, random Dictionary of Sorrows choice, headline] Suerza n. “a feeling of quiet amazement that you exist at all, that you somehow emerged alive and breathing despite all odds….” Dictionary of Obscure Sorrows “Leukemia Claims Local Restaurant Owner.” The...

He Never Wanted Me to Really Know Him

On the top shelf of my parents’ closet where my mother has never explored, I pull down dad’s rifle case. Just before they fully drugged him at the hospice facility, he asked me to get rid of it when he died. Behind the gun I discover a faded boot box frosted with a...

The Daughter of the TV Detective

In a town in the Arctic Circle, Iceland, Finland, Alaska, or the Shetland Islands (the important attribute of the location is the cold), the teen-age Daughter of the TV Detective receives a FaceTime call from her mother just as the Daughter unlocks the door of their...

Storage Unit Clean Out

After 25 years, I cleaned out my storage unit with the help of two of the hardest working undocumented workers I know. Here’s what they loaded into their gray soccer mom van among various power tools and the electric grinder they used to cut open the storage unit’s...

Wrack Line

In response to "unthinkable thoughts" prompt: Wrack Line I turn on the garbage disposal, and feel the pull, an icy shiver pulling down my hand. It tickles. Taunts. Tempts me to stick my fingers inside. By accident on purpose. I shudder. Flinch. I imagine how it would...

Sea Watchers

After Edward Hopper And still they come here every summer, same motel, same room. Each time, they unpack, backs to each other, change into bathing suits and walk to the beach. He sits like a lifeguard, alert for any movement. She closes her eyes and remembers the man...

Limitless

Because I am in fable/fairytale mode... I merged prompts. Limitless “Alas,” said the mouse, “the world is growing smaller every day.” (Kafka, in A Little Fable) Ah, little one, says the owl whose orange eyes are two suns that pierce the darkness of my nights. It is...

Milk

Milk My stepmother always says a watched pot never boils, but I will prove her wrong. I use milk because it’s more interesting than water. I would love to swim in a milk lake. I watch and I watch that pot. Nothing. So I water our plants. Of course, I use water not...

My Father Refused to Neuter Samson

A random search for a random something-or-other on the Internet returns a random image—that of a dog. On closer look, I see it’s a statue of a dog. Not any dog. This one, male, his thick back leg hiked and taking aim on the corner of a building made, maybe, of...

My Scientific Girlfriend

We meet at the Natural History museum. It’s November. Cold, rainy. I wave from across the hall and squeak to her at the Diplodocus bones. “Hey,” I say, making a show of my guidebook, purchased for $5. “Hello,” she says, a wad of papers slipping from under her arm. I...

Shopping at Piggly Wiggly

[The checkout line prompt. A minor character gets to be major? Not sure what this is or where it could go but it's as far as I could get today. I do love in-the-weeds suggestions for improvement, and thank you!] Shopping at Piggly Wiggly Today is Tuesday....

Stories

Every Saturday, Rita’s mother sends her to the public library where she sits on the floor and listens to Mrs. Sullivan read from books she’s pulled from the shelves. The floor is hard and the books she chooses are stupid and boring, always about girls who become...

It’s All a Matter of Perspective

Every Friday Misty, her greasy black hair drooping, arrived in her rusted Kia Rio, bringing gifts. A teapot-shaped serving tray. A teak trinket box. Mrs. Carroll accepted each offering with hugs and left Misty with her skinny legs and big feet to the vacuum and...

Prompt: body-scanning exercise

When I'm not being honest, your hands are on my neck, your palm a stone heavy on my chest. I don't always tell you when it hurts, or when cold-nerve-jolts glove my hand and sleeve my arm. My voice changes key and flutters—I imagine I sound chocolatey, a sultry...

Day 1 Prompt

Prompt: Write a scene/moment about something without mentioning that issue on the person's mind. It’s almost midnight. Frank gets up from his Lazy-Boy to retrieve Pete and Joan’s coats from the front closet, while Debbie, Frank’s new, much younger ‘partner-in-crime’...

Akrasia

519 words of anti-capitalist rhetoric There are generally two opinions on alcoholism: it’s a lack of willpower; it’s a disease. No reasonable person argues that alcoholism and addiction are a preponderance of willpower in a perverse state. It sure seems like it is...

Too Many Pills … Too Little Love

Uncovered ironing board  … symmetrical holes of slotted desire. Twenty opaque bottles of pills: beta-this and oxy-that and metho-something, clinging onto the frayed metal punctures.  All needed for some … thing Fingers pushing sloppily on square buttons on a square...

Don’t go West, Young Lady

I crouched down at the far corner of the front porch, in spite of the threat of an appearance of walking sticks or snakes, both of which I’d experienced in similar situations. The screaming between my sister and my father echoed across pastures and hills, punctuated...

Schwinger’s Choice

Schwinger’s Choice Would she save us? Short, somewhat stocky—from German stock—Mrs. Schwinger wore her hair short too, neat. Kept it silvery gray. She lived directly across the street at 151 Bridge Lane—we were at 150. Our front doors faced each other, as did our...

Terrible Creatures (549 words)

According to the June edition of her Sasquatch Field Research Association newsletter, Ohio ranks fourth in the nation for Bigfoot sightings. Dani mulls this over and concludes that with a little pluck and patience, her odds are good. She consults her library of...

Death of a Projectionist

So many years we waited in the undreamt dark, a church of silence in our hearts. He worked the Genesis, the Starlite, the Mystic, spying through his porthole into the velveteen, the unwashed praying to his altar of light. What he could do with sprockets and mirrors, a...

sea haiku

‘some of us know we have never felt safe’ – Lucille Clifton the sea welcomes me with freeing arms, safety here a myth as out there ◾︎ — Any and all critique welcome

a covenant of salt

there’s a wildness to this place, even wilder than the city in which Daddy threw us as sacrifice upon the altar of hungry men with an appetite for the angelic. it’s cold tonight, now that the sulphur’s settled to smoke on the plains below. this cave is a strange kind...

the house of mirrors

as long as i’m in the maze X can’t reach me. he’s too oafish, easily enamoured by the horror of his reflection. i race the corridors, four hundred and twenty three mes moving in unison. freed in the confusion. a labyrinth of glass far from where the minotaur rules....

Good Physicality

I prowl around the tiger pen, stretch my sinews, unfurl. Chomp my teeth; lick my fangs; swish my tail. A pack of middle schoolers in matching pink t-shirts watch, gaping. One girl’s ice cream cone drips brown on her white shoes. My stripes don’t blend. Not yet....

Don’t Ignore the Light

My soul ring-mastered my life from a place of pure colorless consciousness a void fueled by lack of image no eyes to see, no mouth to verbalize the pureness of stillness my soul birthed my flesh into the circus of my family uplifted by familiar spirits who cradled me...

The First Girl

The story of Daphne doesn’t start with Daphne. It starts with Apollo randomly humiliating Cupid. The golden god’s laughter echoes in Cupid’s ears. Ages of disrespect—from his size, his age—and Cupid’s had enough. Winding up his bow, he shoots Apollo with a golden love...

Runaway Pronoun For Grief

There’s an art exhibit in Monkey’s Eyebrow, Kentucky. I’m nostalgic for a final, ceremonial road trip. Decay permeates airports. Hissing and spitting clouds of people line up to get juiced by every vendor, while stench stupefies air vents through food courts. It...

Other Side of the Glass

It smelled like suet inside the Dodge. This was likely because they slept in it. There was a futon in the back and they didn’t have time for sheets. The dog lay on it while they drove, each day for hours, looking for places to stop. Places where he’d day-drink and...

Touch and Go

The single-pane glass rattled in every window as the Air Force jet roared overhead. First whining like a giant glass bottle being blown, the sound becomes more robotic, digital, like dropping a bucket of steel pipes on concrete. Then the wheels come down and she roars...

Many Names

Born Catholic. If you know about Catholic you know that death/life are always as intertwined as heaven and hell. Brand new innocent baby that you may be, if you die before baptism you go to a place called Limbo. Not heaven, not hell, a void devoid of love, or pain, a...

All Dolled Up

Patty perches on my office bookshelf beside a glass Prince candle holder. Prince’s hand rises out of his purple robe in a gesture of blessing. Matted hair intact and dressed in her faded blue crinoline Sunday dress, Patty stares at me as I write. Fitting, really,...

Ghost Baby

I have a ghost baby. I'm not the only one. Maybe you have a ghost baby too? Not a sheet sporting specter that roams our hallways at night rattling chains or calling our name. She's something more akin to the phantom limb pain one feels after they loss an arm or a leg...

Out Behind the Gym

Out Behind the Gym "I knew your daddy, Patrick," Dr. Collins says, feral and panting in his booze and sex-stinking office, leaning against the closed door. His dangling hand fiddles with the lock. Lock, unlock, lock, unlock. It's now I know he's going to fire me. Fire...

Memento

I sleep with four twenty-pound propane bottles in the cabin, three of which I keep directly under my bed. They burn down quickly during the winter season, filling the fiberglass cabin of the shuttle with just enough carbon monoxide to help me sleep at night. Should a...

Ogga

1 Ogga is a boy hedgehog and he makes me feel safe. he’s quite small and he’s not a real hedgehog cos his spikes are made of little pieces of wool and his belly’s full of squishy stuffing. still, i say he’s better than the so-called real hedgehogs in the garden....

And Do the Bare Minimum

When a grocery store-bought orchid is done blooming, it usually ends up in the bottom of a trash bin. Most people don’t know they can bloom again or how to start. But I always thought the benefit of buying a flowering plant was that it could bloom again and again. Cut...

Whitecaps

Blasted by winds of silent rage, this would be nothing less than a tsunami. No trees left standing. The Northeastern constricted surrounding villages. Long as I could remember, this violent turbulence touched down and tore up the same fragmented single-wide body I...

The Lady Bug Connection

I can't remember his name. Before surgery, when I was still concealed my terror, my brother bought me a small, stuffed lady bug. We named him, I'm certain. When the they wheeled me to the operating room, I asked the nurse if the lady bug still hid somewhere in my bed...

For Doug

Long ago I knew you Beside a cripple creek protruded skinny arms cross- cut with sharp objects Smoking menthols with Jan Our neighborhood hippie Playing rummy in the tent With Arnie Rodriguez You condensed high school Into a two year plan to get out of jail early, or...

Paper Money

In my laundry room I keep a framed display of Cuban paper money from the 1950s. Worthless now, the bills are beautiful. They were sent to me by my friend Angui, my best friend's cousin, who used to walk us to school when we were first and second graders. They are on...

We Live in Purple

Happy 2024!   We live in purple Mage capes draped over our shoulders, pulling in the colors of the night, the bits of light that add a violet hue, that point to stars, that whisper, that shout their presence. We live in the not-dark, almost-dark that casts no...

Anointment Near Plaça Floriana

                                                                                                                                                                                   Anointment Near Plaça Floriana   Another year, another move—this time, this time....

Paradox of Presence

deathly shadows dart in and out of peripheral view phonemes of truncated sound falter on waves of unrestrained energy knowledge revealed only after last gasp   we live in fragility one breath away from stability rain will cleanse our tears birth seeds of promise...

The Plumber’s Lament

Dear Lord of Digestion, how do humans eat so much light and shit so much darkness? Like the exotic beetle that scribes its life in excretions of ink, they write their lives in bile, bacterial biomasses, nitrogenous matter. I feel sorry for them, every day hanging...

Cuckoo Flower

I knew a woman who said she couldn’t recognize faces. She had a neurological thing with a Latin name. She was a writer, and we were booked at the same reading, and she gave me a head’s up about her inability to recognize faces, and I wondered how this would apply to a...

Three

Three My girl Is vanilla bean, Lies on the floor like a scraggled mop. One day she makes me breakfast. More than a dozen eggs or so. It is all bubble and scramble, And I would tell her everything if I thought she could take it but she can’t, she would curl up like...

Breaking Bread; Repair Girl

Two pieces -- the first with words created from the word generator (smart and end m and start with b, end with d ... with some author flexibility. The second features someone with an odd profession, with a voice different from my usual. Breaking Bread The fungus...

Conjoined

Conjoined I stare back at the people staring at me, as if we’re all lost, befuddled and peculiar. I have two heads to do the staring, two sets of eyes and one body that takes me through crowds, Macy’s and holidays. though it sometimes goes flat when one set of my eyes...

The Adjustment

We don’t greet when I enter the room. He is still fit for a man his age. His strong back to me hovered over a desk, he keeps turning papers in the dark trying to reflect the fading natural light that comes through the sub-basement style window. Like the disinterested...

Red Light

Our eyes meet while caught in a snarl of rush hour traffic, waiting for the light to change. We don’t recognize each other at first. Then we do. Memory flares like a struck match, and suddenly, I’m reliving that awful summer after my divorce and the way you looked...

Stuck, Hung-Up or Stiff?

Sydney Ashley was always getting stuck. Not on thoughts in his mind, but on things. His rubber galoshes would stick like caterpillars mating, even on linoleum floors. Sydney Ashley was always getting hung-up. Not on thoughts in his mind, but on door tops when he...

Little Lord Fauntleroy

His white boots feel daunting- matching the quadratic graphics of his cropped tee. Look at the buffed and polished nails. See how he turns the wigginess of his tanned face? Who does this to themselves? Lacquered couch and armed slouch. Bulletproof patch quilt vest...

a couple of pieces

Barley and Hops Maybe we should have sex tonight or fake it with fries Cab Franc and a clown balloon on hand just so I can feel something anything because this axis isn’t budging and every wasp has stung my ear twice or thrice already as if I’m a glum LA actor with a...

Laundry Day (working title(

When Lucy realized her dead husband was alive in her washing machine, she wondered if she would have to live in dirty clothes. This was not that unusual for Lucy as she had given up all kinds of cleanliness when her husband died. The kitchen sink was mounted with...

No More Glue

Inspired by someone I used to know ... It was an early June Monday morning where things were slow to come alive. Caterpillars stayed balled-up, snails let only a centimeter of an antennae out of their shells, black crows perched silent, motionless, on telephone...

Dear Esther

Hi everyone! This one is a CNF about somebody I never knew. I've been kicking it around for a while--actually started it in a Bending Genres epistolary weekend workshop. It's over the word count--640 words. Only if you have the time (or interest).   Dear Esther,...

Like A Day in the Life

Seargent Peppers Lonely Hearts Club Band A Day in the Life lyrics © Kobalt Music Publishing Ltd., Sony/ATV Music Publishing LLC https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Sgt._Pepper%27s_Lonely_Hearts_Club_Band 6. "A Day in the Life" Lennon with McCartney Song by The Beatles....

After our Fifth Time Watching Dirty Dancing

We mambo back to Lily’s house, swishing and flicking our hands and hips, sharing a pink cigarette. I spin Lily, inhaling her smell of apple moisturizer and the Cape Velvet we’d snuck into the theatre. Outside her house, she pauses to read the sidewalk’s green chalk...

Gotham Blues

I am a bit part in this universe; wasn’t the leading man at my own wedding. A minor henchman to a lesser villain. The Penguin only shits on me. I don’t own anything. Can’t claim a territory or place. There’s four bars on every street like it’s Kearny, New Jersey. No...

The Third Ear

Carol Nixon had a third ear, tucked behind her left ear, concealed by thick blond hair. She loved to watch Film ‘92 and Film ‘94 (with Barry Norman), the best years in film by miles. She loved a boy named Simon. It was a romance unhindered by the ear. As far as Simon...

The Line

First, a quick note: I tried for hours (literally) to write to the prompt, and it just wasn't happening. Instead, this happened- a very traditional, ROUGH flash without bells and whistles, that's like a mini-scene for the character in my novel. So, I went with it,...

flying out of toon town

From behind, the flight attendants look a bit like plastic clergy, vestments in yellow, life preservers across shoulders. The kid in the seat in front is playing that soccer game with cars, or he’s watching a video of someone else playing it. Will I ever see my mother...

cleaning up

Cleaning Up I’ve got my fingers inside of someone else. They are quite happy about it. But soon, because nothing lasts, I have left that body, those bodies, and I am in a room in a house I used to live in, and used to live in, and the place is a mess. It wouldn’t...

The Botched Premiere

I'd never seen the poor child look so forlorn hunched over like that, sitting on the boards at far stage right. Diane dangled her long legs over the edge and whimpered for me, "Oh, Grammie Hall, I just know what to do!" I had hurried to her aide, and she dabbed her...

Out of the Fire and Into the Lake

Am I more of a stream feller? I like rapids, and eddies, and I never thought I’d say this but I’d fuck Neil Patrick Harris in the dark alley behind my place on Ludlow. He’d be wearing a Hike Naked t-shirt and would be sporting that actor smirk, leering, that cocky...

En Passant

Hunched in my grandmother’s second floor rental, I ignore my chattering siblings for chess. Play for hours after school with my new class-mate, Ben. Sliding and leaping the plastic chessmen. Glasses of cola fizzing beside us. Ben laughs when he forks my pieces, the...

The Burn

Age twelve and you’re in the living room with mom and Jane Fonda—Jane 2D slim, all headband leg warmers butt floss, mom 3D thick on the avocado shag rug, all sweatsuit struggle to kick high, to kick higher, the T.V. so loud the window panes shudder rattle shake at...

The Rise of the Chrome Jesus

(Paterson, New Jersey, St. Michael The Archangel) A century old parish closes on a Friday. When a Catholic church shutters, its associated parish is said to be suppressed. The parish can then be merged with surrounding parishes in the manner the diocesan bishop sees...

Butterflies: Please read this version

Butterflies My niece, Shelby, has not learned how to lie yet. Or how to slow her waterfall of facts and opinions. When we’re in my butterfly garden playing with her dollhouse dolls, she answers all my questions. “Yes, Mommy cries and yells and sleeps a lot sometimes...

Suerza

[list, random Dictionary of Sorrows choice, headline] Suerza n. “a feeling of quiet amazement that you exist at all, that you somehow emerged alive and breathing despite all odds….” Dictionary of Obscure Sorrows “Leukemia Claims Local Restaurant Owner.” The...

He Never Wanted Me to Really Know Him

On the top shelf of my parents’ closet where my mother has never explored, I pull down dad’s rifle case. Just before they fully drugged him at the hospice facility, he asked me to get rid of it when he died. Behind the gun I discover a faded boot box frosted with a...

The Daughter of the TV Detective

In a town in the Arctic Circle, Iceland, Finland, Alaska, or the Shetland Islands (the important attribute of the location is the cold), the teen-age Daughter of the TV Detective receives a FaceTime call from her mother just as the Daughter unlocks the door of their...

Storage Unit Clean Out

After 25 years, I cleaned out my storage unit with the help of two of the hardest working undocumented workers I know. Here’s what they loaded into their gray soccer mom van among various power tools and the electric grinder they used to cut open the storage unit’s...

Wrack Line

In response to "unthinkable thoughts" prompt: Wrack Line I turn on the garbage disposal, and feel the pull, an icy shiver pulling down my hand. It tickles. Taunts. Tempts me to stick my fingers inside. By accident on purpose. I shudder. Flinch. I imagine how it would...

Sea Watchers

After Edward Hopper And still they come here every summer, same motel, same room. Each time, they unpack, backs to each other, change into bathing suits and walk to the beach. He sits like a lifeguard, alert for any movement. She closes her eyes and remembers the man...

Limitless

Because I am in fable/fairytale mode... I merged prompts. Limitless “Alas,” said the mouse, “the world is growing smaller every day.” (Kafka, in A Little Fable) Ah, little one, says the owl whose orange eyes are two suns that pierce the darkness of my nights. It is...

Milk

Milk My stepmother always says a watched pot never boils, but I will prove her wrong. I use milk because it’s more interesting than water. I would love to swim in a milk lake. I watch and I watch that pot. Nothing. So I water our plants. Of course, I use water not...

My Father Refused to Neuter Samson

A random search for a random something-or-other on the Internet returns a random image—that of a dog. On closer look, I see it’s a statue of a dog. Not any dog. This one, male, his thick back leg hiked and taking aim on the corner of a building made, maybe, of...

My Scientific Girlfriend

We meet at the Natural History museum. It’s November. Cold, rainy. I wave from across the hall and squeak to her at the Diplodocus bones. “Hey,” I say, making a show of my guidebook, purchased for $5. “Hello,” she says, a wad of papers slipping from under her arm. I...

Shopping at Piggly Wiggly

[The checkout line prompt. A minor character gets to be major? Not sure what this is or where it could go but it's as far as I could get today. I do love in-the-weeds suggestions for improvement, and thank you!] Shopping at Piggly Wiggly Today is Tuesday....

Stories

Every Saturday, Rita’s mother sends her to the public library where she sits on the floor and listens to Mrs. Sullivan read from books she’s pulled from the shelves. The floor is hard and the books she chooses are stupid and boring, always about girls who become...

It’s All a Matter of Perspective

Every Friday Misty, her greasy black hair drooping, arrived in her rusted Kia Rio, bringing gifts. A teapot-shaped serving tray. A teak trinket box. Mrs. Carroll accepted each offering with hugs and left Misty with her skinny legs and big feet to the vacuum and...

Prompt: body-scanning exercise

When I'm not being honest, your hands are on my neck, your palm a stone heavy on my chest. I don't always tell you when it hurts, or when cold-nerve-jolts glove my hand and sleeve my arm. My voice changes key and flutters—I imagine I sound chocolatey, a sultry...

Day 1 Prompt

Prompt: Write a scene/moment about something without mentioning that issue on the person's mind. It’s almost midnight. Frank gets up from his Lazy-Boy to retrieve Pete and Joan’s coats from the front closet, while Debbie, Frank’s new, much younger ‘partner-in-crime’...

Akrasia

519 words of anti-capitalist rhetoric There are generally two opinions on alcoholism: it’s a lack of willpower; it’s a disease. No reasonable person argues that alcoholism and addiction are a preponderance of willpower in a perverse state. It sure seems like it is...

Too Many Pills … Too Little Love

Uncovered ironing board  … symmetrical holes of slotted desire. Twenty opaque bottles of pills: beta-this and oxy-that and metho-something, clinging onto the frayed metal punctures.  All needed for some … thing Fingers pushing sloppily on square buttons on a square...

Don’t go West, Young Lady

I crouched down at the far corner of the front porch, in spite of the threat of an appearance of walking sticks or snakes, both of which I’d experienced in similar situations. The screaming between my sister and my father echoed across pastures and hills, punctuated...

Schwinger’s Choice

Schwinger’s Choice Would she save us? Short, somewhat stocky—from German stock—Mrs. Schwinger wore her hair short too, neat. Kept it silvery gray. She lived directly across the street at 151 Bridge Lane—we were at 150. Our front doors faced each other, as did our...

Terrible Creatures (549 words)

According to the June edition of her Sasquatch Field Research Association newsletter, Ohio ranks fourth in the nation for Bigfoot sightings. Dani mulls this over and concludes that with a little pluck and patience, her odds are good. She consults her library of...

Death of a Projectionist

So many years we waited in the undreamt dark, a church of silence in our hearts. He worked the Genesis, the Starlite, the Mystic, spying through his porthole into the velveteen, the unwashed praying to his altar of light. What he could do with sprockets and mirrors, a...

sea haiku

‘some of us know we have never felt safe’ – Lucille Clifton the sea welcomes me with freeing arms, safety here a myth as out there ◾︎ — Any and all critique welcome

a covenant of salt

there’s a wildness to this place, even wilder than the city in which Daddy threw us as sacrifice upon the altar of hungry men with an appetite for the angelic. it’s cold tonight, now that the sulphur’s settled to smoke on the plains below. this cave is a strange kind...

the house of mirrors

as long as i’m in the maze X can’t reach me. he’s too oafish, easily enamoured by the horror of his reflection. i race the corridors, four hundred and twenty three mes moving in unison. freed in the confusion. a labyrinth of glass far from where the minotaur rules....

Good Physicality

I prowl around the tiger pen, stretch my sinews, unfurl. Chomp my teeth; lick my fangs; swish my tail. A pack of middle schoolers in matching pink t-shirts watch, gaping. One girl’s ice cream cone drips brown on her white shoes. My stripes don’t blend. Not yet....

Don’t Ignore the Light

My soul ring-mastered my life from a place of pure colorless consciousness a void fueled by lack of image no eyes to see, no mouth to verbalize the pureness of stillness my soul birthed my flesh into the circus of my family uplifted by familiar spirits who cradled me...

The First Girl

The story of Daphne doesn’t start with Daphne. It starts with Apollo randomly humiliating Cupid. The golden god’s laughter echoes in Cupid’s ears. Ages of disrespect—from his size, his age—and Cupid’s had enough. Winding up his bow, he shoots Apollo with a golden love...

Runaway Pronoun For Grief

There’s an art exhibit in Monkey’s Eyebrow, Kentucky. I’m nostalgic for a final, ceremonial road trip. Decay permeates airports. Hissing and spitting clouds of people line up to get juiced by every vendor, while stench stupefies air vents through food courts. It...

Other Side of the Glass

It smelled like suet inside the Dodge. This was likely because they slept in it. There was a futon in the back and they didn’t have time for sheets. The dog lay on it while they drove, each day for hours, looking for places to stop. Places where he’d day-drink and...

Touch and Go

The single-pane glass rattled in every window as the Air Force jet roared overhead. First whining like a giant glass bottle being blown, the sound becomes more robotic, digital, like dropping a bucket of steel pipes on concrete. Then the wheels come down and she roars...

Many Names

Born Catholic. If you know about Catholic you know that death/life are always as intertwined as heaven and hell. Brand new innocent baby that you may be, if you die before baptism you go to a place called Limbo. Not heaven, not hell, a void devoid of love, or pain, a...

All Dolled Up

Patty perches on my office bookshelf beside a glass Prince candle holder. Prince’s hand rises out of his purple robe in a gesture of blessing. Matted hair intact and dressed in her faded blue crinoline Sunday dress, Patty stares at me as I write. Fitting, really,...

Ghost Baby

I have a ghost baby. I'm not the only one. Maybe you have a ghost baby too? Not a sheet sporting specter that roams our hallways at night rattling chains or calling our name. She's something more akin to the phantom limb pain one feels after they loss an arm or a leg...

Out Behind the Gym

Out Behind the Gym "I knew your daddy, Patrick," Dr. Collins says, feral and panting in his booze and sex-stinking office, leaning against the closed door. His dangling hand fiddles with the lock. Lock, unlock, lock, unlock. It's now I know he's going to fire me. Fire...

Memento

I sleep with four twenty-pound propane bottles in the cabin, three of which I keep directly under my bed. They burn down quickly during the winter season, filling the fiberglass cabin of the shuttle with just enough carbon monoxide to help me sleep at night. Should a...

Ogga

1 Ogga is a boy hedgehog and he makes me feel safe. he’s quite small and he’s not a real hedgehog cos his spikes are made of little pieces of wool and his belly’s full of squishy stuffing. still, i say he’s better than the so-called real hedgehogs in the garden....

And Do the Bare Minimum

When a grocery store-bought orchid is done blooming, it usually ends up in the bottom of a trash bin. Most people don’t know they can bloom again or how to start. But I always thought the benefit of buying a flowering plant was that it could bloom again and again. Cut...

Whitecaps

Blasted by winds of silent rage, this would be nothing less than a tsunami. No trees left standing. The Northeastern constricted surrounding villages. Long as I could remember, this violent turbulence touched down and tore up the same fragmented single-wide body I...

The Lady Bug Connection

I can't remember his name. Before surgery, when I was still concealed my terror, my brother bought me a small, stuffed lady bug. We named him, I'm certain. When the they wheeled me to the operating room, I asked the nurse if the lady bug still hid somewhere in my bed...

For Doug

Long ago I knew you Beside a cripple creek protruded skinny arms cross- cut with sharp objects Smoking menthols with Jan Our neighborhood hippie Playing rummy in the tent With Arnie Rodriguez You condensed high school Into a two year plan to get out of jail early, or...

Paper Money

In my laundry room I keep a framed display of Cuban paper money from the 1950s. Worthless now, the bills are beautiful. They were sent to me by my friend Angui, my best friend's cousin, who used to walk us to school when we were first and second graders. They are on...

We Live in Purple

Happy 2024!   We live in purple Mage capes draped over our shoulders, pulling in the colors of the night, the bits of light that add a violet hue, that point to stars, that whisper, that shout their presence. We live in the not-dark, almost-dark that casts no...

Anointment Near Plaça Floriana

                                                                                                                                                                                   Anointment Near Plaça Floriana   Another year, another move—this time, this time....

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