Friday, September 28, 2007

~Pirogue by Dragon~

I didn't intend to travel to the edge of the world. Call it a sacrifice on the altar of love. Or call it temporary insanity. They are not mutually exclusive. They may be one and the same.

She said to me, "The man I love must be willing to travel to the ends of the earth."

And I, thoughtless, young, said, "This I am willing."

Then she said, "The man I love must be strong enough to return from the ends of the earth."

My blood ran red and hot, my arms ached to hold her, and my vocation pressed me on into the pirogue. It was a trinket she desired, a curio from the east, a meaningless nothing, and it became my all-consuming desire. I saw what no man had seen before, and fought battles with men, monsters, and myself. I proved my own strength and devotion. I satisfied my own quest. I became worthy of her.

And now, at the end of the world, I wonder, should I return? Should I deliver her heart's desire? Is she, finally, worthy of me?

~Tomorrow by Rion~

Dear D,

At gramma's house this week. Mom and Dad are doing their usual tour of their old high schools and stuff, old places where they'd barfed from too much beer or driven too fast. Gross.

Gramma's napping in the easy chair, head slumped, with the volume of Walker, Texas Ranger turned up so loud I Can't Believe she can sleep through it. I love gramma, too bad she doesn't watch any good tv.

Just decided to take a bath in the tub. A narrow one, but deep enough to cover my knees without draining water. And I put my hand, Just There, while thinking about Shane Pederson. Then I sortta started thinking about Marjorie. I actually moaned.

Diary! It felt so nice but now I'm worried that I'm a lezzie. And my hands are pruny.Maybe I'll take another bath. Tomorrow.

~Not Leaving by Cynthia~

Forty nine years ago I gave my hand to you in marriage. Now you give your hand to me in sickness.

You reach for me from the bed placed in the living room. You can no longer make it upstairs to our marriage bed so I sleep on a love seat next to you. I'm not leaving.

Our hands may be veiny, dry and a bit swollen with arthritis but they have built a good life. Our hands still fit together.

As you sleep, your pain must ease because you smile often. Every once in awhile you mutter words about our life.

When you start to awaken, your hand reaches out. I'll always be there to hold it.



There had been so many jokes about it—what would you bring to a deserted island? Who would you want with you there? What food would you miss most? What cd would you play over and over again? And etc. The questions floated around the internet, across drunken nights and through friends like little pebbles bouncing their way down a river.

Emily had one thing and one thing alone. It was her copy of Herman Hesse’s Siddhartha, speckled with chicken scratchings and flashes of pink highlighter from her college days. The corners were tattered, and there was a coffee stain on the inside cover from the time she loaned it to a boy she was dating. It reminded her of late nights discussing topics in Nihilism with her study group at the Burger King down the street from her apartment.She packed it specifically in case this cruise would unexpectedly land her on a deserted island. And surprisingly, here she was, feeling fully prepared for the journey ahead.

***Multi-layered and thoughtful.***

~Sugar-Coating by Comrade Kevin~

I possess a particularly nervous kind of personality. This was quite evident that afternoon when I felt the roaring, gutteral vibrations of a nearby explosion in the floorboards underneath me. It was a jarring and ragged feeling hard to easily articulate.

Like an unexpected obscenity, the shock waves rattled the wooden deck first, transformed the water of the swimming the pool to a choppy, frantic, swirling mass of waves, and then a fraction of a second later pulsed through the carpeted floor of the computer room, where I was writing.

I felt it through my legs first. Raw, vibrating, jagged. It made the inside of my head buzz. Two seconds afterwards, it was over. I could still remember it clearly, however, and remember the sense of disquieting dread and discomfort which remained.

There was nothing particularly gorgeous whatsoever in the blast except for the mere force behind it. We're used to cushiony things in this society. We're used to sugar-coating. We're used to being eased into things.

We're used to easy-clean linoleum and rack and pinion steering.

The blast was none of these things. I was examining the photograph I'd snapped of my girlfriend swimming in the pool. I'd taken it about a minute or so before the explosion. The calm before the storm was supremely deceptive.

~The suspense in waiting for the blast, divine.~

~Likeness by Ann Walters~

Lydia was thinking of a thousand different ways to draw a face. She wanted a name like Chanterelle or Sunita. Her eyebrows were too thin, too thick, too indeterminately shaped like a question mark. Her forehead became a series of dots and dashes, her cheek a smear of ink on a wanted poster. Looking sideways into the mirror, she could almost see that girl from the mall, the one with the pert nose that turned down instead of up at the tip, the one she had followed for two hours. There was a hint of unconformity in Lydia’s chin. Too many shades of aqua overshadowed her muddy eyes with their clarity. Lydia painted her lips a deep blood red and placed a single kiss on her bedroom wall, labelling it #213 with a black marker. It made her think of the name Greta. She wiped her face clean and began again.

***A great big story in such a tiny space.***

Tie for First


It isn't as hard as it looks.

You just have to give up a few things that you're probably not using anyway. Your mind, for instance, and your free will. You give up your independence, and you give up your individuality. That's about all. It's not a lot.

I haven't had to think in years.

It's so liberating!


"Still Life with Marionette"

Polly hates the strings. They’re always getting caught in zippers or snagging on parking meters.She can’t drive a car unless it’s a convertible. There is something invariably dull about her footsteps, as if she never truly touches the ground. Everything is approximate. Polly has a hard time remembering which string to pull so that by the time she extends her hand to the cashier, her change has fallen through the cracks in the counter. She’d rather leave it down there than make the cat’s cradle that will let her kneel. A special knob opens her mouth to receive the communion wafer. Another closes her legs at appropriate moments, like sitting at the DMV when the driving instructor enters. Polly can remove her eyes and walk all the way to her apartment from the strip mall where the license plates are stored because the strings have memorized the route. As long as there are no entanglements, this gives her more time to dream about scissors.

-Ann Walters


Rupert's gallery would be opening on my birthday. He announced it to me over reheated tuna casserole. "There's nothing I can do, dear," he said. "It's the only time I could get the space, and this is primo space." He put the emphasis on primo as if it made him somehow more European, or cultured, or something equally ridiculous.I had just moved to New York from a lifetime in St. Louis when I met Rupert. Like the city, he had seemed so strange and exciting--unlike anything I'd known before.

Now, a year later, I find Central Park to be a glorified lawn, New York bagels to be oversized, salty puffs of stale bread, and to be honest, I really do not like Rupert's art at all.


***A remarkable trio, thanks ladies!***