“Release the Dragons” – Flash Fiction

Jack’s study is wallpapered in a  1940s paper that features a lot of Van Dyke brown and golden apples. It’s a bit fuzzy and feminine, but because of the browns, it retains enough masculinity that Jack can deal. Had the papering been in roses and pinks, he would have torn it off long ago.

There are bottles of scotch lined up on a shelf, specialty types and expensive, and they add to the ‘his study’ vibe, at it really is all Jack. The rest of his house might be feminine, considering it’s his wife’s domain, but thankfully the study is all his. Down to the strange decorations on his wall; African masks and Native American spears, cigar boxes tucked into the book shelves, stacked books, a messy desk, dim interior. The study is Jack. Jack and the study are one.

The scent of the room is warm. Not so much as musty, but dust has a warm smell, and the crammed interior leads to there being more dust than might be in the rest of the house. Jack’s wife gave up on trying to keep his study neat and tidy. A little dirt never hurt anyone.  The books are new smelling, with glue and fresh paper and ink, but there are also older books. Books with yellowed pages and spicy with age. Leather covers with the warm and sharply metallic scent from the leather. There is a leather chair, worn from years of Jack sitting in it to their dogs  claiming as their own. An open cigar box smells of the sharp resinous smell of Spanish cedar and the unburned smell of tobacco. There is a warmth and coziness to the room and it is homey feeling without the pretentious feeling that it needs to be homey.

It’s a balmy Saturday afternoon and Jack is enjoying a small glass of scotch while he reads the latest historical book  on the Second World War. He has a great love of that particular war and has too many books on the subject. His wife, Sadie, is baking cookies in the kitchen and there is the warm smell of vanilla and burned sugar when the back door buzzer goes off, startling Jack.  The damn thing sounds like a fire alarm buzzer, it’s about as dramatic as one, and his three grandsons get a huge delight ringing the thing.

Jack sighs as he hears the trampling feet and voices garbled into a cacophony of sound. There seems to be a barking dog in the midst as well.

“Release the dragons,” Jack mutters as the heard of grandsons, a new dog, and a friend from school all pile into the hallway outside his door. He hails them, downs the rest of his scotch and slowly gets up.

Saturdays are for his grandsons even if they are about as disciplined as a herd of dragons.

 

I was complimented on how I describe a room and write it out recently. I think I have to give that credit to Zane Grey and Emilie Loring, whose work has inspired interiors and exteriors enough that I like writing about spaces. I want to have you, the reader, picture it in your head like I describe, but I realize each of us is different. Ah, one can dream.

So, for now, enjoy this snippet of flash fiction.

Kate

PAD Day 30 – Dead End – Dead Ends and Roads, and Endings?

Well, it’s here.  Yesterday was the last day of the Writer’s Digest Poem a Day challenge.  How will I ever survive without a poetry prompt every day? I am actually a lot a bit sad about it being the end, just because it brought focus to me, albeit, I felt a bit neurotic writing poetry, and so much of it, ever day.  But now to scale down the close to forty poems to five to send in to Robert for the challenge part.  Who knows, a couple might be picked.

Doesn’t matter so much as it turned out writing so many poems was good for me. It allowed me to express myself even more than I have been able to, unlocking some doors that I had slammed shut last year. While opening the doors is like opening a wound, it’s not a bad thing. It just lets me reevaluate life and realize that while outwardly I say I’m okay, a part of me is not. Emotions and such.

And while I probably won’t be able to submit any of these poems to a literary magazine, because a lot of places consider a blog as being published, I’m okay with that. But it makes me want to settle down to writing more poetry that is more expressive like it has been this month. There were areas I never thought could come out so emotional. Who would think a prompt of footwear would make me cry? Or tackling stars, or Important things, or  even silly and serious things? All of the prompts made me really think. And most of the time it took me all day to ‘brew’, as the term flew around the writing group today, and finally perk some poems by evening. It usually took me most of the day to let the idea gel. But it was good.

Русский: Грунтовая дорога в Гремячьем Колодезе

(Photo credit: Wikipedia)

So, the last prompt was dead end.  A lot of people would probably think of dead end as a negative thing, but for me, while one of my poems comes out emotional, and one a little neurotically personal, dead ends also make me think of living in the country where a dead end road isn’t really ended, but just the pavement stops and then it’s open fields, or a dirt road, or a bike path, or a path to a creek, or a deer trail, or something utterly magical, or utterly ordinary, depending. I kind of like dead end things.

So here are my dead ends.

He’s A Dead End Road of Longing
Don’t go down that road of longing
it’s a dead end street of hope;
Not even a possibility of a country lane,
but a brick wall, ten stories high.
Try all you want, but you can’t break
through all the barriers he built up
to keep you at bay.
He’s piled obstacle upon obstacle
in his wake, and as you sift through the debris
and ever locked door
there is more in front of you.
He’s an expert of disguise, hiding himself
and all your suppositions are just that.
Just hopes you’ve made up in your mind,
hoping for the impossible to escape his mouth
and tell you all the things you want to hear.

 

I Like Dead End Roads
I like dead end roads of asphalt
that escape into the wild.
A deer trail, a dirt road, two tire tracks
that lead through tall grasses waving.
A sea of waving grass and ships of
wild flowers floating on the sea of green.
Where you wander down a buzzing of
unknown insects, the white noise
to the whisper of a breeze.
Down, down, down the track to
What? An abandoned barn?
To a rippling stream?
To nothing at all, but a path that
just keeps going on beyond
the dead end road.

 

Dead End Dreams
Dead end dreams, I’ve had a lot of those.
The kind you make at 5, 10, 18, 25, etc.
The dreams you think will become amazing.
Like becoming a ballerina though you are a klutz.
Or you will have four kids named:
Sadie, Phillip, Sofie, and Paul.
But then, you are not married at 25
like you had planned for the past fifteen years,
and you never became a nurse because
you nearly passed out watching your sister
get an IV at ten, turning green and dizzy and loopy.
And all your inner dreams died long ago
except for maybe one or two you water
and feed, trying to keep alive and so far
they are far from dead end….yet.
Just more of a detour on the tale ends
of a dream of a dream
where hopefully they become a car
on the highway of life where no road
ever really ends.

Kate

PAD Day 29 – Haphazard – My Books are in Upside Down Pyramids

Today’s prompt, from everything I have gathered, since Writer’s Digest seemed to be down all day, was ‘haphazard’. I had read it wrong earlier in the day as hazardous and started writing about things that are hazardous to our health.  I may have to finish that just for the heck of it.

I seem to have a random way of piling things, in piles that are not physically possible. Physics was never a strong suit of mine. And will never be despite my love of Legos and blocks. But that’s another story.  I have this thing where the smaller items get piled under the larger things so needless to say, my stacks of paperwork, books and whatnot tend to fall over. I’m not sure why this is the way it is, but my mother has always said I build upside down pyramids. I have gotten a bit better over the years, but honestly, I still do it. Really, even as I write this, I brought home four field guides and I just plopped some magazines and a picture book on top of them. It’s a really dangerous pile and kind of messy.  I’m really terrible about it. Sigh.

My Books are in Upside Down Pyramids

I pile books, not in neat piles, well maybe somewhat neat,
but mostly they end up in upside down pyramids
the pointy end down, the wide base up
a rather haphazard arrangement that ends up
tumbled in a pile or sliding to the floor.
As I type, the bird books and a novel are under a stack
of magazines and a picture book.
I’m never organized, tidy, or OCD when it comes
to piling books, except maybe sometimes
like cookbooks, they always come out neat
and tidy.
I’m not organized, or my organizing is haphazard
in its own way in where piles of paperwork
end up with other piles of paperwork and I can never
find anything till it all gets dumped together
for another day of sorting and tossing
which is never often enough

PAD Day 28 – Important – Important Documents, Dreams, and Words

The prompt for day 28 (sob, how can it be almost done!!!???) of PAD was Important (blank).  I liked Robert’s one prompt idea of Important Documents, so I went with that. I actually had ideas floating around in my head all day, but just didn’t want to sit down to write. I had hoped to keep the poetry flowing in a steady day to day thing, but I wanted to do other things tonight. Or last night since it’s technically morning right now.   I think I was channeling Boris. He’s been in my mind since I finally got a letter from him a week ago. So, old feelings have resurfaced, much to my chagrin, though the muse has been at work.

You know how the Greeks had their nine women muses?  Well for women, I think we need men as our muse. Or at least I find men inspiring. Maybe not.  Maybe it’s just Psyche’s Call that I’m listening to.  For those that are wondering about that phrase, I just am giving promotion to one of the women in our writing group who sends out a writing prompt ever day. They are not your normal ‘word’ prompts, but more of a thought process digging deeper into one’s psyche.  I urge you to sign up and check them out. They are thought provoking and while they haven’t ever really made me start a story, they do make me reevaluate what I am writing, or make me look at what I’m writing a bit differently.

A current prompt from Psyche's Call

A current prompt from Psyche’s Call

Important Documents

I hold out these important documents
tied up in manila and twine and brass rivets
and cogs and wheels and locks and keys.
They hold things so dear to me, but I’m handing
them to you, trusting you to not tear me apart.
I hold documents so dear to me, out to you,
you who has been a part of me over the years.
I wrote them to you, for you, about you,
then tucked them away safely for years,
afraid of showing myself to you.
But you have been ever bit as safe
as the warm blanket that holds me at night
never judging me for the words I wrote
for you, about you, to you.
Thousands of words, written too big to say out loud.
I can only whisper them, or write them down.
My heart too afraid to utter a syllable of sound.
I know you won’t shatter me, but I still hand them
to you and ask you to read what I say
inside my very soul each time I say your name.

Important Dreams

These dreams are what build universes
and stories
and chapters
and titles
These dreams are what make my world explode
in color
in song
in dance
These dreams are what turn out words
in rhyme
in poems
in laughter
These dreams are what make me create
a world
a hero
a love story
These dreams are what are so important to my life
in hopes
in longings
in promises

 

Important Words

I wrote out a poem for you, or two, or three, or millions more.
I have them in scraps of colored paper and index cards.
I wrote them on pictures, on postcards, and notes.
I have important words for you to hear though I can’t say them.
They are too big to say out loud, to small to write them down.
They are what make you a dream, and me the goddess writing them.
They are what make you the mystic and I am the mystery unfolding.
They are what make you the sorcerer and I am your slave.
The magical words bind me to you in simple ways.
The words tie me up in hopeless thoughts too confounding.
The words cling to my skin like sand on the beach.
The magical words are my shackles and my freedom.
Come read them and take them with you.
Take them from me so I forget what I said.
Let me throw them to the wind like petals on the prairie.
Only you could ever know what they mean to you and me.

 

Clearly there is a theme, of sharing words with someone, but also being afraid to, but then knowing that person would not hurt you. It’s a weird feeling. Maybe it’s a feeling that’s too big to express. Maybe I have been writing poetry for too long and too many this month. Maybe it’s a good thing that the month is almost over of a poem or more a day. Because clearly I have been writing more than one poem a day.

Kate

PAD Day 27 – Take off – My Assistant is Never Around

A few years ago when the Gevalia commercials came around with Johan, I joked that his brother Sven was my assistant. Sven, I imagined was like Alexander Skarsgård and I was always shouting out for ‘Sven! Come and do (blank)!” Sven, unfortunately was never around. He couldn’t even brew me a cup of coffee. He and Johan spend their days drinking coffee and making sure their pretty boy faces are never damaged.

A friend has her maid, Maxine, who is just like Sven. Totally useless. On the plus side, we don’t pay them. So they are doing an honest day’s no work…..

 

My Assistant is Never Around

Sven, my assistant, is taking today off
not that he’s ever been much of a help
sitting around drinking my coffee instead
of bringing me a cup or two, I blame his
brother Johann who works for Gevalia
lazy good for nothing gorgeous men
who are too consumed with themselves
Instead of mowing lawns or heavy work
instead of being at my beck and call
instead of doing anything worth while
I hired Sven cause he’s a good lookin’ guy
who I thought would bring me coffee in bed
and do all the heavy lifting I’m not willing
to do, but instead I’m doing it instead.
So he’s rather useless, and I pay him
too much, but what can I do, he’s a
pretty boy I like to watch move around
Ah, I might want to fire him, but why
when he doesn’t cost me a dime?

PAD Day 26 – Love/Anti-love – I Was In Love With

So apparently for ‘seasoned’ PAD participants know that a Tuesday two of ‘Love/Anti-Love’ is all part of the deal.  Last time around, in November I didn’t get anywhere with a sonnet on love.  This time around though, whew. Oh, too many emotions in this one. Too much of myself, too much of what was, and what is, and what will never be.  Sometimes this is where poetry hurts.  Sometimes this is where I’m actually afraid to share it with all of you because it’s something personal.

I wrote the other day about a childhood crush, but that isn’t the same as the first time being really in love. I think it’s too pure really.  My first love/crush was when I was too innocent to really know a thing. But my first love was when I was 24, and I seriously lost myself for two years.  No really, I can go back in my journal and there is nothing for two freaking years! I hate myself for that. I can’t even remember what happened in those two years.  Ugh.

I Was In Love With

I was in love with a  boy;
a man not grown up, but I loved him
so much, my heart hurt
and my life was his and I lost myself
for two years.
He was my world in chaos,
but my life was chaos and
he was not my safe haven.
But I was his, and I was lost
and it took me years to be found,
not before almost losing myself again
over another man boy.
But a man I’ve never met
found me and and found myself
and let me find me until I fell
in love with him.
But I’m still me, and more of myself
than I ever was alone.
And I’ve become myself
in more ways than one
and I love this man
in more ways than one.
But he is him, and I am me
and never the two shall be as one.

 

Then there’s this one.  Anger in that one.  The second man boy I dated semi tricked me into saying I loved him.  It was more when I was distracted with my dog and it came out the wrong way and it was on the phone and it was not real. I was so annoyed with myself, and him. And it didn’t last long at all. And I call that a ‘whoops’ moment in my life. I don’t even count the guy as a real thing.  I’m laughing here. But enjoy. I don’t know if it’s anti-love enough, but I’m counting it as one.

I Never Meant ‘I Love You’

Don’t tell me I love you, you tricked the words
out of me but they are lies.
They were words said in distraction.
I never really meant them for you.
Don’t have me throw lovely things in mud.
Because words like these for you are diseased.
You wanted what was untrue, but you thought it real.
These words are not real but fantasy I hate.
You say you love me, but I can’t reply.
And trickery isn’t love to me.
So go off and say I was untrue to you.
But these words were never meant for you.

 

PAD Day 25 – Exercise – Exercise in Restraint and more poems

So my first thought this morning when I was thinking of exercise, the PAD prompt of the day, I was thinking running. Because running is an exercise in mental and physical ability. Running is how I lose weight. Nothing else burns the fat off quite as quickly. But the downside is I am not a very good runner. I have to use an inhaler for breathing, a form of exhalation asthma according to my doctor. I get worn out super fast, I can only run on a good day about two miles…. Three miles is the most I’ve ever pushed myself and it’s amazing, because I hit my wall at about a mile and a half to two miles.  So if I can get past that, well whoo hoo!  I need to get out running because this winter I put on at least 10 pounds. Even my comfy jeans are getting a bit snug…. Sigh.

But then I was walking to the library and I realized that I have to restrain myself when I go the the library. I would check out so many books, but my card has a limit. A twenty item limit. I can’t whip out my card like a credit card and just check out anything.  Lol. I would if I could and I would be carting home too many books!

And lastly, a bit of minor slam-ish poetry about how after the first four days in January, your New Year’s resolution is almost kaput.  So enjoy today’s three poems

Exercising Book Restraint

It’s an exercise in restraint to book shop
at my library when the new rotation
fills up the shelves in flashy covers
and my fingers itch to pull them down,
stuff them in my bag, greedy-like
then whipping out my library card
like it’s a platinum credit card
with no limit and endless funds.
Sadly my card is usually maxed out
at twenty items which is never enough.
New covers and new stories are my bling
my guilty pleasure, my food of living
Exercising restraint takes all the fun
out of library book shopping.

Running – Said on a Epithet

My feet hit the pavement with a slap
the rubber of my shoes absorbing impact
a hint of pain vibrating up to my knees
Running. Said on an epithet
It’s the agony that makes me cringe
the pain radiation from my shoulders out
and down to my calves that makes me
cringe and resist the exercise.
The endorphin’s buzz isn’t always enough.
Running, said on a sigh, now that’s
what makes me pull on my shoes
once or twice a week in the summer.
Knowing I’ll be in shape if I keep it up.
Running; is a casual thing for me.
Or jogging since I only run a ten minute mile
on a good week, or month, or never.
I love running the track field. Around
around, around till I hit three miles.
That magic three makes me dance and explode
in pure happiness as I pass my wall.
That stupid wall around one and a half to
two miles, and a flushed face, and a
wheezing set of lungs and the promise
of a damn good cup of coffee at home.
But three is my number, my goal, my
challenge and delight and reward.
Summer is coming and the running is
nagging me like a child tugging my skirts.
I’ve yet to acknowledge it other than
a passing glance, or a taste of guilt.

Exercise on a Slam

January — stack up the exercise books
pull out the free weights and yoga mats
Your New Year’s resolution is taunting you
You made the promise in a drunken flash
fool that you are, ignore the chip stash.
Don’t you know that booze lies?
But you are determined to win, goodbye fries.
The battle of weight and outta shape
You can ignore the cookies on the plate
Stretch and flex, you can win
It’s been four days, don’t give in.
Stick to your guns it’s only pain
and muscle you will eventually gain.
Others around will lose this battle
Heck, this lugging around isn’t just for cattle!
So step up the pace and push yourself on
Five days isn’t that far gone……..

PAD Day 24- Lost then Regained – Lost and Found Friends

Mrs. Austen and I  lost touch with each other for about ten years; those years from childhood to adulthood.  It was by chance my grandmother, darling that she is, found Mrs. Austen’s wedding announcement in the local paper, clipped it out, and sent it to me. I can’t imagine how my life would be had she not done that and Mrs. Austen and I reconnecting. I can’t imagine my life without my best friend, who really would like a letter, and I have one started in an email, but it’s been two weeks…. Sorry Jules! I will get it to you!

But for now, here is how we lost then found each other. And when I think of our friendship, I think of Simon and Garfunkel‘s “Bookends” and “Old Friends” songs, which happen to be my favorite songs of theirs. I also think of Sorcery and Cecelia or The Enchanted Chocolate Pot by Caroline Stevermer and Patricia C. Wrede

Lost and Found Friends

I was twelve when I lost my best friend,
Moving east, three states across;
A distance more than miles, it became years
A childhood faded to the teens;
Terrible years and no friend to commiserate with.
Meeting again at eighteen on the cusp of adulthood
Her going that way, me going another distance.
College and moves, and strange times between us.
She was married, her picture in the paper
when we truly met again, as ourselves.
Not in person, but letters and words on sheets.
Meeting like old-fashioned women and calling cards.
Our friendship regained in letters and cards
to something strong and lasting for years.
From best friend, to lost friend, to found again
We are the old friends sitting like bookends…

PAD Day 23 – Footwear – I Never Knew I Could Write So Many Poems About Shoes…

I never would have thought that I could have gotten four poems from footwear. Seriously, my first thought at 2 in the morning when the prompt came out was, “Heels. I can write about my love of heels.” Well you get two heels poems and two more shoe poems as well.  I was reading three of these off to Mel this morning and I loved her insight and laughter.

I have to say though that I was holding back tears with Flip Flop Childhood.  How can you not get weepy and sentimental about your first crush when you were a little girl? I was five. I was in love with a neighbor boy and it was horrible and awful and wonderful and there were arguments and tears… mostly because I kissed him on the cheek and oh, the terror of it for him.  Even to this day, thinking about him brings a fondness and melancholy moment. Ah childhood.

The rest are true, with a touch of exaggeration. Just a very slight touch.  Enjoy.

 

In Heels I Know My Limitations

Tap tap tapping down the street
I go in heels too tall
click click clacking on pavement
I’m a lady, I’m a girl
And the heels are my badge
They are my license to be
feminine and helpless
though I can almost run better in heels
than in my running shoes
Running on my toes, gazelle-like,
worrying about placement and pebbles
that might trip me up;
In running shoes I think I can make it
till I twist my ankle for being cocky and brave
In heels I know my limitations
Tennis shoes make me arrogant.

Inherited Bunions
My mother wore heels during both her pregnancies
In the eighties of stiletto heels and big shoulder pads
and bold colors.
She had dainty feet — size four and a half.
Cool green snakeskin kitten-esque things
that I said I would wear when I was older and a lady.
My feet are seven and a half.
I was never able to indulge in
her suede forest green pumps.
It makes me sad to see them go
to the second hand shops;
Because those heels gave my mother bunions.
I didn’t inherit the heels,
but I’m inheriting the bunions.

Flip-flop Childhood (for CMM)

Flipflops and popsicles
and skinned knees and chalk
and bike rides and summer
roll together into my childhood
when summer heat melted rubber
and flip flops protected against
burning sidewalks from his house
to my green lawn and cool garage
where the cars were
or the blocks, and teeter totter
and kisses to cry over
and records to laugh over
before I moved, before he
grew up and moved and
before we were too old
to realize that we didn’t
really get each other, but
for those five years
I was in love with
a boy who was younger than me

The Hiking Boots of My Life

The hiking boots that take me up
the granite rocks where my
sister and I play, making
pine cone soup with pine needle
noodles on the side with a
lichen salad and a sand
and gravel dressing.
The hiking boots that grip the
creek stones as I hope across the
rocks, staying dry till they hit
an algae patch and my foot
plunges into mountain water.
The hiking boots that sit on
the bank as we wade into
the creek sliding on rocks
the water so cold and fresh.
The boots sit there, impossible to
get on, after wet feet try to tug
on socks, then the snug boots.
The hiking boots that made me
love boots more than tennis shoes
and sandals, sturdy and strong
faithfully taking me from there
to here. From eight to much more
than eight.
I still wear hiking boots.

PAD Day 22 – Stars – Stark Raving Mad Star Painted Skies

March Hare

March Hare (Photo credit: Wikipedia)

Stark Raving Mad

is what the March Hare
calls Alice
who really must be a writer
because who else has dreams
like that?

The first poem is due to Robert’s lovely suggestion he’s totally fine with prompts that get bent a bit. I couldn’t resist. And honestly, aren’t we all a little stark raving mad?

Okay, now onto Stars (blank) poems. I really could have gone so many ways with this. I love astronomy and Greek mythology. I love how the mythology is in the stars and I love star maps. Constellation guides. I love seeing the blue fields filled with the lines of the constellations. I love learning the names of the stars. Vega, Aldebaran, Rigel, Arcturus, Betelgeuse, Procyon, Sirius, Capella……

I also love Enya’s ‘Paint the Sky With Stars’. Anything to do with stars I’m kind of a fan. I even fold paper stars. Heck, I need to write a poem about paper stars.  Oooh, I think I found my evening writing prompt.  I will come up with something I can add in for tomorrow’s post.  I have also been humming Corinne Bailey Rae’s “Just Like a Star’ in my head a lot. It’s on of my favorites of hers.  It’s just a really smooth song.

But for now, enjoy my three other star poems.

Starry Sky

Midnight blue field with silvered dashes
connecting alphas and betas and iotas
till Orion bursts forth as the mighty Hunter
shooting across the sky as the stories
ancient stories unfold
The lions, great bears, and bulls
circling around the mighty men
the dreamers and beasts
wrapped into a dome of magical light
whirling around and around at dizzying speeds
as the sun sets and the moon rises and
the reverse in seasons and moments
and arc minutes and right ascensions
till they pinpoints bleed into the galaxy that
we call home as far off distant light shoots forth
A star? No, another world light years away.

Star Painted Sky

Paint the sky with stars, in silvers and golds and blues
and dash all the constellations until the disk is
filled with the light and the stories and the music
and the tales from long ago myths
Paint the ceiling with stars, in bold yellows and reds
giants and dwarfs and suns spinning round
twirling us in a golden ratio of mathematical delight
a seashell of magic and spirals
Paint the summer with stars, crashing and slamming in sound
the silence is only in your head as the clash of
oceans of stars collide in a symphony of light spinning
spinning around and around and around.

Star Wishes

She wears a star on the inside of her wrist
a memory of a wish she made
and hopes that one day the wish she made
will turn out and really exist
But dreams and wishes seem so lost not found
as time slips slowly on by
and time is just but a memory
she wonders if the wish will ever be profound
But she wishes and wishes the same
hoping for something to come true
and wishes are true in ones dreams
These wishes are a burning flame

Kate