For one brief moment, the world faded away and Eric made his thirteenth wish. Then it all came flooding back as he opened his eyes, blinked at the camera flashes and candle flames, and blew. The acrid smoke was valiantly driven back by a warm enveloping maternal embrace. As she released him with a sniff, he took in the beaming, bittersweet smiles of his mother and sister, the carefully decorated homemade cake and overly bright balloons and streamers, all the senseless effort to cover up the ten-year-old dad-shaped void in the family, which only served to accentuate it’s depth.
“I try to write beautiful things for myself and others to read if we feel like it.” – the writer
I know it’s cold here set on this empty dining room table, behind shuttered restaurant doors, where the lingering scent of sumptuous food has dissipated. The hustle of waiters, the soft conversations and the sounds of clinking glasses are now all shadows of memories. Gone are the warm hands that once caressed us as we sank into the chef’s luscious indulgences. And most of all, we miss the mouthwatering lips between which we slipped, and the tongues that licked us clean.
But we’re not alone. We’re lucky to have each other to cling to through these otherwise dreary, lonely days.
“I write to keep my mind active and thoughts positive through these troubling days.” – the writer
Poets gather at Barnes & Noble and vocalize verse during National Poetry Month. I’m listening to magical metaphors when a man leans to my ear, asks if we’re reading our poems. The not-poetic, one-syllable, “duh,” comes to mind, but I mind my manners, nod, and motion to the chairs. He responds by asking who my favorite poet is but doesn’t wait for an answer, tells me his are Frost, Sandburg, and James Whitcomb Riley. I wonder what they would think of him, interrupting poetry to talk about poetry, but who said love of poetry has to be polite.
“In these uncertain times, I write to stay sane.” – the writer
The day has been long. I’m sick of the city, I tell myself. My weary body won’t hold me up forever. Soon I will look like one of those old ladies everyone pities, until they become one themselves: lonely, back permanently hunched from urban living, weighed down by grocery bags and regrets.
My footsteps echo in the freezing station. I approach the melancholy refrain of a lone saxophone, playing just for me. The old man’s eye is foggy with cataracts, but his melody sees deep into my soul. Transfixed, I can’t help but smile.
“I write because the mundane really is magical.” – the writer
Six shots ring out. Fat, hollow bangs ricocheting against the walls of the night. I tense waiting for a cry of pain, a howl of distress, a ruckus of some sort, someone doing a runner from the commission of a crime, an active shooter on the prowl, who maybe is not done yet. But there is nothing only a twitchy silence a dead emptiness for our imaginations to fill
John is a South Australian writer of poetry, flash fiction and the occasional short story.
When the garbage on earth began to be too much, we gave up parks and enclosed our rivers in pipes. We fired one way rockets full of the detritus of human society onto the moon’s dusty seas. At first on the dark side but after a while we didn’t care anymore, we just didn’t want to wallow in our own refuse. Talking points were three:
At least it won’t smell. It won’t catch fire. We won’t get all kinds of funky bacteria growing up there.
They were wrong about the last bullet point.
R. Gene Turchin writes “to construct something out of an idea.”
The ferry arrived 20 minutes ago, but I still feel the swell of the ocean. How strange the way we can preserve sensations in our bodies.
It’s the same with you. I still feel you pressed against me, swaying during our first dance. I still feel the lace of your white dress. That was 20 years ago.
I look at the sky. The sunset’s red streaks are like the lipstick marks you found on my collar a couple of years later. I arrive alone at my rental and sit down, regret still pulsing through my body like a violent ocean.
Michael Degnan lives in Peaks Island, Maine. He writes because “it helps him think.”
inside rock flinty fire inside sand time inside water space inside air song inside light dark inside tree colors rise weeping through branches’ eyes inside bone poem inside flesh bread of hunger inside blood pulse of thirst