Dan

Unintended Eulogies

However many pounds of unordered flesh,
trying not to end.
We stab for strength
in a crowded sadness;
latching on to hope
in the sea of mold-covered pennies.
Filling my throat, it’s
a lump of crushed sunlight,
the sobs of overflowing
life and shock and
the happiness when
least expected.

Advertisements
Standard
Dan

Subcutaneous

Greg yawned as he leaned into the butterfly stretch, feeling the knots in his lower back whine, squinting in the morning sunlight with the stale taste of sleep lingering on his teeth. Everything was just a normal, annoying Monday. Then he saw something black slithering up his inner thigh.

“Oh, fuck!” he yelled, his brain interpreting it as a giant centipede. And then the perception shifted and he laughed at himself. It was just a bruise.

Wait. No. It was a dark bruise a second ago, but now it looked an awful lot like text. He blinked, and tried to stretch closer, feeling his hips start to whine. Definitely text, but… can’t… quite read it.

Greg scrambled to his feet, knocking over an empty water glass as he rummaged for his glasses. “Mrph glumph,” went his mouth involuntarily.

Then he saw it. HELLO DONT FREAK OUT GREG, it said, in tiny little block letters. Is it a tattoo, or sharpie? Friend playing a really out-there prank?

Poking at it with a finger, bent over, staring at a part of his thigh that he never looks at, Greg started giggling. “Gotta be sharpie.”

He licked a thumb, and rubbed it on the inside of his thigh, willing the black to blur. “Nope.” Greg stared at his thumb, clean. Then back at his leg. The text didn’t dull or move at all. It’s really on there. “What in the hell…”

He picked up his phone and took a picture, to solidify it somehow. A way to try to prove it wasn’t just his eyes wigging out.

All day at work, Greg wondered about it. It sat there, invisible. He couldn’t feel it, but it was a strange kind of mental itch.

When he sat on the toilet, he had to stretch down to read it, suddenly embarrassed all over again, even though he was alone in his kingdom of the echoing stall.

HELLO DONT FREAK OUT GREG, his leg said.

Continue reading

Standard
Dan

Prizoner

Bumbling along, I wibble wobble my way through the delicious sunny day. Flyin’ up and down, scootin’ in and out, drinking in the tasty treats of the Pattern Gods. Gotta fill up my baskets with all the fuzzy fruit the Gods have gifted us.

Bloop boop bloo, here’s the flags of a nice shining Purple Tower Temple. Get up, get up! Get on up. I fly along up and amongst its purple walls. I’m a-lookin’ for the goodies, where are the golden goodies?

Oho! A massive altar of shining fruit for me. I sing out my big ol’ song of praise to the Pattern Gods, and shake my fuzzy booty as I load up my baskets to the brim. “Bloop bloo dee boop a bzz,” I sing, giving a bow to the altar as I dip my way back out of the Purple Tower God’s palatial temple.

A boo dee boodle doop, and away I go to meander through the towers and the temples of our great green city. Now wait, what in the world? The city’s edge, it’s a big boring wall, has some delicious-looking White Hanging Temples climbing up its side. Bleedle dee doo, and away I go!

A Grand Wing King swoops by me and whispers a hello, and as I turn to shout a greeting at him, I stumble off course. And wait, what the, my wings fail me and a big breath of the Gods is… oh no, it’s done pushed me too far! In a blink, before I could scrabble for purchase at the strange straight lines, I suddenly stare around in a vast alien city. Nothing is green. Everything smells weird. Oh dear.

Gotta get out, gotta get out, must GET OUT OF HERE! It isn’t safe. This may be a dwelling of the Meat Giants. What’s that color? Weird. Everything is hard and unmoving. But I can still see the sunlight, that bright glorious sunlight. It’s not completely obscured by the walls of this sick place.

There’s some kind of warped slice of clear, hard honey by the portal I got whisked in. I bash my head against it, I taste it, but all I taste is dust and my desperation. Gotta get out. But to do that, I’m going to have to explore this strange place.

I bumble my way along. In my state of abject fear, I hear someone singing a tuneless “boodle boot” number, and I look around quickly before realizing it’s me.

Skirting a massive mountain of skin that has been tortured into an ugly maroon, I suddenly spot the palaces of the great green city. I’m not far from it! So I thrash my wings hard as I can and jet my way towards it.

BAM. Ouch, my head. It’s more of that damned clear honey. Hard as a rock. This is a gigantic tower of it, and it’s not warped, I can see straight through it. The sun is shining on my body, warming me, almost laughing at me. I can see the Wing King, he’s right on the other side! Is he mocking me or somehow gesticulating at a possible escape? Can’t hear his whispers. Damn, gotta get out!

Gotta get out so bad, I ram my poor body into the frozen honey over and over. What the heck? This stuff is impervious. I fly the edges, seeking an opening in it, testing it. Getting more and more frantic with each passing minute.

Then I turn, and true horror falls over me. A Meat Giant is stomping towards me across the vast dead space of this horrible city. Practically fainting, I tell you, I steel my resolve and bang faster along the edge of the clear honey.

In a blink, in a buzz, before I can shout or sting or do anything at all, I’m inside a cold cage of tiny hard lines. “No!” I shout. “Let me out of here! I just want to return my green city! You can see it, right on the other side! Please return me there, oh wise Meat Giant!”

But I know the Meat Giants do not comprehend the language of bumblebees. In my fear, I forget, and I keep begging, as the terrible cage buffets me. I refuse to think about what might happen.

Then suddenly, I feel the sun on me again. I turn, and one side of the cage has opened. Before I can even react, the Meat Giant flings me out of its prison, and out into the lovely-smelling temples of the Pattern Gods.

Shaken, I can’t help but immediately land on the closest God. I eat some of its fruit to sturdy my shaking legs, and then I sing a song of relief. “Bdee boodle bree diddle bzzz!”

Standard
Dan

Rise

When some of us wake into the white, it is with a grand portent, like surfacing from a lake in a fairy tale. Emerging fully-formed from a prophecy of hope, we awake into the shining world with the innocence of babes. We slept knowing that when we woke, the world would already be prepared by the sacred spells. Ready for us to enjoy. As if we had gone to sleep with a terrible curse, being blessed by a wizard, knowing that when we finally woke that particular curse would be lifted.

Not all curses, though.

When others among us wake into the white, it is with a pit of dread in their stomach. These were the watchers along the journey; not fully awake, but in a dreamlike state, they have one by one taken the watch as we gradually traveled over the stretched-out millions of years. The growing black beauty of the final approach has shaken them to their ghostly cores, just like a sudden nightmare accelerating in the moments before waking.

Continue reading

Standard
Dan

Cold Start

A distant line of trees shivers in the same morning wind. The cold takes his pen and steals his ink, so that he huddles closer to the brown grasses below, still shaking, still feeling like death. No time left to warm under his stare, no feeling from sun to core.

“I can’t practice what I can’t do, without anyone left to listen,” he says.

The horizon murmurs voicelessly, up and through the all-consuming hum of the angry dirt.

“No; yeah, it’s no use to worry now, but my stomach won’t stop twitching anyway. It don’t listen to me.”

The dry blades of grass feel his eyelids flutter, tickling them.

“We didn’t know. I swear. Damn it! We didn’t know…”

“Hmmmmmmmmmmm,” says the ground.

“Never be sure what happened, anyway. Probably wasn’t my fault,” he says. “How come I haven’t frozen yet?”

“Hmmmmmmmm.”

Standard
Jenifer

Talking about the Elephant

So this is a short piece i’ve been working on for years; writing dialog is one of my favorite things to do although i haven’t the technical knack. But try, try again…

Talking about the Elephant

Jenifer R Thompson

They sat in the dark bar and chain-smoked Camel Lights trying to forget the summer furnace outside; sweating in front of them despite the air conditioner working overtime were pints of Stella Artois .
“So how come you never told me about this before?”
“I don’t know. It wasn’t the time; I wasn’t ready.”
“So…why are you telling me now?”
“Because it doesn’t matter anymore. I’m tired of hiding the past and sometimes I think it’s funny it happened to me.”
Waiting for the rest, he watched her as she absently brushed an errant hair off her forehead, finally he said,
“I’m glad I didn’t know. I probably would have made things worse.”
She shrugged. The bar was empty; just the two of them and the bartender who sat on a stool farthest from the front door and did a crossword puzzle. The jukebox played Miles Davis’s ‘Autumn Leaves’.
He sighed,
“I can’t believe you stayed with him so long”.
“I was embarrassed, I couldn’t bring myself tell anyone; and where was I going to go if I left? The worst part is I believed him, I believed it wouldn’t happen again…I mean, this was me. That kind of stuff didn’t happen to me.”
She glanced sidelong as he lit them both another cigarette.
“I should have know. I should have guessed what was going on”
She jerked around and looked at him,
“Why would you have?”
He stared at the bar as if mesmerized by the beer sweat rings,
“I just should have known. He was such an arrogant ass”,
“Really? You liked him, at least at first. You played video games, compared notes on cigars, and drank gin as if you both had discovered it. We all had fun together, he wasn’t always bad; just if we drank too much and he felt threatened. He loved me,” she trailed off with another shrug.
“Don’t justify. He doesn’t deserve that.”
She blew smoke rings at her reflection in the back bar mirror,
“Sometimes I miss him, that’s the craziest”
“He didn’t deserve you.”
Tension and unspoken thoughts swirled with the cigarette smoke. The bartender looked up at the sudden silence, asked if they want another; mutual nods brought her quickly to empty the ashtray and refill glasses. She asked what they were up to while the beer flowed and foamed.
“Just two old friends sharing war stories; picking at scars.”
The bartender nodded, took eight dollars from their pile of ones, and returned to her puzzle.
He took a long drink,
“So…anything else I should know?”
She smiled and lightly touched his hand, their first contact all day. He turned in his stool so his leg brushed hers.
“Did I ever tell you about the Tuesday my roommates and I skipped school, called in sick to work and dropped acid?”
“I’d better buy another pack of cigarettes.”

Standard