Friday, September 12, 2014

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Friday, November 1, 2013



I hold not dear immortal dreams.  Hopes ground in promises of youth.

That love lingers, when mortal flesh and soul are parted.

Hollow sentiment.

My heart has died today, and so shall I.


Whether the actual trenches of WWI, or as a metaphor for modern life, tragedy strikes all too frequently.  Heartache is heartache.  That never changes.

Picture credit here.

Thursday, October 31, 2013


He said he would return to haunt me.

Come hell or high water.

Ironically, high water is what did him in. I could only make assumptions about the other half of his promise.

On the night he intended to do away with me, the lake was freezing cold.  Too cold for anyone to survive for very long.  He’d counted on that fact.  It was his body, though, that had been stunned to slowness by the arctic water, and when he lunged at the small boat-the scene of our struggle just mere minutes before-he missed.  I’d rowed as hard as I could, desperate to put distance between myself and a second chance for him. 

Then he’d succumbed.  Simply slipped into the clutches of the black deep. 

Out of my life.

For months afterward, I could neither bide my waking hours without looking over my shoulder, nor slumber without bad dreams tearing me from my sleep.  The idea that I was free of the worst mistake I’d ever made was truly hard for me to believe.

And then, finally, I allowed myself to breathe easier.  Relax.  Feel safe.

That was weeks ago.

Before I started to imagine I was hearing his voice, underneath the white noise sounds of my hair dryer.  My refrigerator.   My electric fan.

Only I wasn’t imagining.

I began to let my hair dry naturally, and I muted the sound of the refrigerator by keeping the door separating the kitchen from the dining room closed.  I sweltered at night, hoping for enough of a breeze through an open window to take the edge off of the relentless summer heat.

Hoping to keep him away.

I wake tonight, just before the witching hour, and I reach for my blanket. My bedroom has grown cool. Almost icy.

And my fan is running.

In the dimness of lace curtain veiled moonlight, I make out a shadowy figure lurking in the doorway of my second-floor bedroom.

I nearly faint from sheer terror.

Come hell or high water, he’s kept his promise.

Monday, October 28, 2013

The Good Stuff

I simply adore Halloween.

Handing out enough fun-sized chocolate bars to potentially bankrupt me, all the while wearing, to the point of pain, the most convincing tickled-pink smile I can muster.  Gushing conventional exclamations of cuteness at costume clad ankle-biters, while trying to hide my disgust over sticky fingers and faces.  Which, to be perfectly honest, I don’t find very cute.

Year. After year. After year.

This Halloween, I come to the following conclusion:

Never Again.

Instead, I buy the thrifty ten-pound “value” bag of assorted mystery candy, set the sack alongside an index card scrawled with Help Yourself on a small table near the front door-and then proceed to congratulate myself on the genius of my plan every time I hear the scuttling feet of greedy witches and vampires climb my porch steps.

By midnight, long past the hour when most kids have gone to bed with tummy aches and the beginnings of tooth decay, I’m sleeping soundly. 

The doorbell rings.  Rousingly, and repeatedly.  Like a sucker from my bargain bag of sweets, I answer.

Two “ghosts” wearing white sheets with holes cut out for eyes, are standing on my welcome mat. One of them is holding the bag of candy.

It’s late, I pronounce sternly, hoping to sound more than slightly irritated.  Didn’t you see the sign? 

By way of a response, both 400 thread-count percale-clad spirits sit down on my porch and start to boo me.  And as my eyes adjust to the darkness, Sweet Mary and Joseph, I see them.  Scores of costume clad trick or treaters camped out on my lawn.  Chanting.  Demanding the good stuff.

Snickers!  Butterfinger!  Milky Way!

12:30 a.m.

I’m headed to an all-night market to purchase appeasement. I find a glimmer of consolation in this thought:  Technically, it’s the day after Halloween. 

Candy should be half price.


Inspired by Hitchcock’s “The Birds”

This was, of course, written in the spirit of mischievous fun.  I love Halloween, and I really do think costume clad ankle-biters are pretty cute.  My own ankle biter will go off to college next fall, and instead of moping around, lamenting that fact, I’m trying extra hard to keep my spirits-Halloween and otherwise-high.

Saturday, October 26, 2013

Chasing Scared


This is the time of year, on these crisp October nights, when the line between what is real and what isn’t becomes blurred. Walking after dark along leaf scattered sidewalks, the skeletons of bare trees silhouetted against the inky sky, it’s easy to see things, hear things-believe in things that make the blood run cold.

Another October, long ago, my friend Veronica and I decided to walk the dozen or so blocks from our dorm to the downtown cinema to see the late showing of the classic film “An American Werewolf in London.” It was after midnight when we left the theater and headed out into the black and windy full-moon night.

Somewhere, close by, something howled…

And we RAN!

Sure, deep down, we knew it was only a dog. But it was just so much more thrilling to terrify ourselves by imagining an explanation far more sinister.

That frightful feeling, I must confess, is what makes these October walks after dark so much fun. It’s the perfect kind of being scared.  The safe kind. And it’s also realizing that you don’t have to be a kid to enjoy the spine chilling magic of the Halloween season.


I wrote this 4 or 5 years ago.  I still like going on those late night October walks.

Friday, October 25, 2013

Faint of Heart

Come out, I encourage.

You need to find someplace unusual.

No swamps, forests or caves, this time.

No closets either, I could add.

But he’s petrified.

Hides behind some clothes.

So I don’t.


Thirty years ago, Roald Dahl published the book Dirty Beasts, a collection of poems for children about weird and wonderful animals. The last poem, however, is called The Tummy Beast about a boy who thinks there’s someone living in his belly. Your Trifextra challenge is to write 33 words on a beast in an unusual place. No swamps or forests or caves, we really want you to take your beast out of its comfort zone.

Saturday, October 19, 2013

Holding on For Dear Life

I know your arm is tired.  And I’ll bet your ear is getting sore.  But hearing your voice on this line is the only reassurance I have that you’ll ever come home again.

A “quiet desperation” type of fear inspired this piece-the gnawing kind that has to be lived with day in and day out for a long, long time.  Picture credit here.