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Wednesday, November 28, 2012

San Lorenzo

He is a mess, a mess she doesn’t want to disentangle. She’s glad he’s not her mess, and yet there is a definite magnetism about him and his mess. Because he’s so messed up, she often thinks he must be a genius. She’s dying to, but dares not ask him if he has flashes of brilliance. She says the sentence to herself, practicing the right intonation so it doesn’t sound accusatory or jealous, facetious or snarky. Hollow. Do you have flashes of brilliance? She can’t envision the situation in which that would ever sound anything other than puerile. Do people have flashes of brilliance? She can hear him guffaw, saying, People have their head up their ass.
But she can also imagine him naked - hugely naked because, unlike Alfredo, he is huge, bulky, hairy - naked and lazy and sated and watching her from under hooded eyelids. In that lethargic state he might be capable of saying something along the lines of: flashes of brilliance. Like a shooting star, when you glimpse one on the night of San Lorenzo and it gives you a thrill, and then it’s gone and you wonder if your brain was just firing sparks off behind your eyes because the back of your neck was seizing up from staring at the goddamned sky at the stars, waiting for a shooting star so you could say you saw it, marvel at the luck of having actually seen one and then not giving up for the night, saying to yourself, to the person who is sitting there with you, one more? One more for the road? So you sit into the night, shivering, your neck twisted in a way you will never be able to straighten. And then you think you might like to replicate that. Do something that might give you that same feeling, make other people stay and watch and be unable to put their chairs away and go the fuck to bed.

HOLLOW (adjective)
: lacking in real value, sincerity, or substance : false,meaningless <hollow promises> hollow
 and without triumph — Ernest Beaglehole>

Saturday, November 24, 2012

My Favorite Things

 want a few of my favorite things, in whichever form I want, in 33 words exactly.

On a Saturday in November, after weeks of sullen gray skies, bright sunlight hits the overstuffed armchair where, for one stolen hour, she will be lost in the infinite power of a sentence.

With props to Joan Didion.

Wednesday, November 21, 2012


In honor of National Erotica Day, Trifecta
are asking for an open write this week--33 to 333 words of erotic writing.

 “Silk scarves painted in turquoise and gold were draped across the clouds where I lay, and the clothes I was wearing began to disappear,” he said. “No one was undressing me, no hands touched my body, but the cloth grew light, then vanished, and I felt the air on my newly released skin. I ran a hand down one body, then up the next.” He ran his fingers over her arm, letting the shoulder of the dress fall to her elbow. She wished her clothes could fall away, like in his dream. She said nothing. She listened.
 “The nymphs drew close, as if they might cover me from all sides, caress every inch of my body at once. Everything that could rise on me did.” He looked at her. “The hair on my arms and on the back of my neck stood up straight. Nothing touched me but their sighs on my neck on my chest on my thighs, between the cheeks of my ass. Their whispers rode up and down, hot breath swirling around my balls. I let my head fall back against the cushions.” She watched him do just that. “I parted my lips, waiting for their tongues, and they came hot and wet into my mouth, swift encouragements of fancy. Lick this, they teased, suck that. I stretched my hands out to grab myself, but my fingers were stopped by the softest of tissue, silken skin surrounding hard little nubs. I drew one of these to my mouth, teased it with my tongue, drew it in to suck and that was when I felt myself being covered.” She held her breath, watched his eyelids flutter. “The lightest of weights descended on me, alit on my thighs where I could lunge, nudge and strain upwards until I was in, bouncing back, thigh against thigh. I drew my hands about their hips and felt them move slowly, deeply. There I tried to remain,” he said. “In that dream. Breathless.”

Sunday, November 18, 2012


Participant judged challenge: relate these three photographs. 33-333 words.


Because there are times

when everything is about loss,

today is about people

who are missing, parts

that have no purpose,

a trail that has no beginning

and no end.

A missing name,

missing bodies.

The point?

Thursday, November 15, 2012

Retribution [Trifecta Anniversary Challenge]

For Trifecta's 1st Anniversary, we participants were challenged to take Joules's first entry (38 italicized words), have a partner (mine is Renada Styles) add to it (100 words) and then finish it. I did so in 35 italicized words. Here is Team 10's entry to participating site Velvet Verbosity:

Charts and optimal dates and preferential temperatures. One line or two. As if she could summon whatever it is that makes up the human soul as easily as she could a cab on a busy New York avenue.

She faced the window.
Her eyes saw infinite explication.

Her math books only examined the probability of tangibility. What of transcendence?

Yellow streaks formed cabs.
An anxious, veneer hand waved.

If it were a finite equation, the curves that lined the hand and body to the point of the nose would be defined by x and y. There would be no question of why two and two is four....

The cocoa swallowed the nutmeg's taste.
The heat rolled into the vents.

The hot chocolate she drank would taste no different to the student three seats over sipping the same.

As if she could banish the specter of truncated possibility; knock it back like some pill taken for the after effects. One cycle or two? Suck it up, spit it out, let it bleed. Expiation.


Tuesday, November 6, 2012

# 53 (NPR's Three-Minute Fiction, Round 9)

In the dream the child was all grown up, looking like one of the grandparents, although Dana couldn't say which. The close-cropped salt-and-pepper hair was Jean’s certainly, although the executive suit with the number 53 stitched in blue and gold on the lapel was fitted to Remy's trim build. Dana shook her head and reached for the baby, who was damp and hungry.
"How dare I have you looking like some of old fart?" she said as she bent to whisper against the child's belly. "You looked so serious, though, like the weight of the world was on your shoulders." She looked up. "Kind of like you do now, in fact." She blew air through her lips to make the baby chortle.
"That's better." Dana settled onto the couch to nurse. "The room you were in looked familiar, but it wasn't home." She clicked the mp3 remote and the Grand Theft Orchestra kicked in. "Not anyone's home that I know."
After two songs, Dana put the baby over her shoulder and patted to the rhythm of Trout Heart Replica until she got a resounding burp, so loud that it made them both laugh. She changed breasts and now the baby began toying with the buttons of Dana's shirt, her oddly long fingers pressing each button purposefully. It was then that Dana took notice:
"You're going to be a lefty, aren't you?"
The baby continued to suckle, pressing the buttons as if in some kind of code.
Dana leaned her head back and thought of the dream again. Her grown-up, grandmotherly daughter was standing with a bunch of suits in a room that was formal and elegant; bright, with a fireplace and a painting of George Washington over the mantelpiece.
"It's so strange to think of you being grown up, being older than I am, being old, when I don't even know what your voice is going to sound like or whether you'll be good at sports or at playing the piano."
Dana gazed down at the diaper-and-onesie-clad child and smiled. "At least you weren't all dressed in Star Trek uniforms," she said, "Lieutenant Uhura."
The baby stopped sucking and smiled.
"You like that, do you?" She repeated the name again, “Uhura”, thinking of the gold uniform with the Enterprise chevron over the heart, when she remembered another detail from the dream.
“Now why did you have a spread-eagled eagle on your jacket where your Division Patch should be?” Dana teased. “I’m going to have to get this dream analyzed after all.”
Dana held the baby up to burp her again, then danced her across the small living room. It would only be a couple more weeks before she would be packing her off to daycare and returning to work.
"Shall we go pick up Aunt Amy down at the shelter?" Dana carried the baby over to the chest of drawers, pulled out miniature overalls: "We'll need some sturdy duds for the meet and greet, won't we?"
Dana slung a diaper bag over her shoulder, sat the baby on her hip and grabbed the folded-up stroller from the corner by the front door.
"Maybe one of the girls can tell me what it means to have the number 53 stitched on a suit lapel." Dana shook her head. “I can just imagine what they’ll say about the bird!”
She put the baby into the stroller and dangled the key chain in front of her. When the baby reached out her hand to make a grab for them, Dana smiled.
"Yup," she said, "you're definitely a lefty."

My Round 9 entry for NPR's Three-Minute Fiction contest, which had to revolve around a US President.
The winning entry is here: http://www.npr.org/2012/11/04/164264711/three-minute-fiction-the-round-9-winner-is


1998 was the year that changed Laura’s life. If you had asked her back then, she would have laughed and said, “Got change for a five? That’s all the change I’ve seen lately.” From a personal, intimate standpoint, which is where most people look for transformative events, this was as true as the day is long. However, in the grand scheme of things, that was the year she learned about death. Not death as abstract, philosophical posturing, not the death of a grandparent or celebrity, but death in a more referential vein.

Had she paid attention to such behavior, Laura could have vouched for having acknowledged, though not mourned, the passing that year of, for instance, Linda McCartney. In Laura’s limited experience, she became the living –or rather, dying- proof that death existed for the rich and famous as well as for the poor and unknown. She was vaguely annoyed by Charlie Parker’s departure, as she had only recently discovered his true genius, and this same devotion made her feel indifferent to the loss of Frank Sinatra. Similar but opposing sentiments were true for Ted Hughes (whom she blamed for Silvia Plath’s via crucis, justifiably or not) and her beloved Octavio Paz.

Frivolous as these brief, unemotional bouts of mourning were, they were held up for review when news of Joe Cooper’s death reached Laura. Barely classifiable as a friend, he was at the least a contemporary, and she had expounded more than one opinion in his presence. They had also shared more than one summer morning at the municipal pool with a cadre of offspring in their offhanded, slightly irresponsible care. So at Joe’s funeral, among the teary-eyed grandmothers and the slightly high colleagues, Laura learned the one lesson that would stand her in good stead when her own intimate and personal day of doom came knocking. She learned that ignorance, blissful as it was, could do nothing to stave off the inevitable. She learned what was needed to answer that door.

YEAR (noun) 3 : a calendar year specified usually by a number

Thursday, November 1, 2012


WHORE  3: a venal or unscrupulous person

 Before  I told him my business, before he found out all that had been going on while he had been screwing around –how could he?- before he had a chance to call me a slut, I walked into his study, slammed the door and seethed. “You whore,” I said, “the two of you are whores. A whore and a whoremonger.” He looked at me over the top of his reading glasses, his hair gone gray and wrinkles crackling his face.

“Who are you raving about, if you don’t mind my asking?” he drawled, taking a sip of his whiskey, ice cubes tinkling for effect. He set the glass down and pulled a bag of dope out from the drawer.

“Put that away,” I hissed. The kids are finishing up their homework, and I’ll have to get dinner soon.” He slid the bag back under the notebooks and newspapers and reached for a Marlboro instead.

“What are you going on about, Cat?”

“I’ve just been by Barbara and Carl’s,” I said slowly. I watched his face stiffen just a bit. I walked over to where he sat and snatched up his whiskey. “They were not very neighborly towards me,” I said and took a sip of the sharp, cold liquid, then threw the entire glass in my husband’s face.

“Do you have any idea what the two of you did?” I asked, ignoring my own little secret for the time being. John rubbed his forehead where the tumbler had hit, then bent to retrieve the ice cubes and pick up any stray pieces of glass he could find. He would be stepping on them for weeks.

“I know what I did,” John says succinctly. “I know what Barbara did.” He stood for effect. “And I believe I know what you did.”
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