A Book That Is Not A Book [Poem]

The worst part of any book
is almost always the binding.
This is not to say
there are not beautiful books
hidden between charming covers.

Rather, the binding is a crook,
that steals by confining,
confounding every page
with a thousand stories overlooked
by those ever opposed lovers.

I yearn to read just one book
unbound from its bindings,
that can life’s chaos convey.
A book that is neither a book,
nor governed by cover-sown shutters.

At DVerse, the prompt today is to write a poem that’s loosely based on French ideals and culture OR
to write a poem using the poetic form “Rimas Dissolutas.”

Photo by Florian Klauer on Unsplash



Crash [Short Story]

I was late. It was my own damn fault. Three alarms had gone off right in my ear – three loud, buzzing alarms – but I had turned them all off and kept sleeping. Now I was stumbling out the front door to the sound of screeching steel, and the buzzing and grinding of workmen that had kept me up all through the night. Damn construction. I’d have to talk to the homes association about the noise when I got home. I was so tired, I barely felt alive.

By the time I dragged myself to my car, a steady progression of cars was already making its way down the way, bound for god knows where. I took only a half second to look in despair at the slightly dented front bumper. My wife, or someone else, must have bumped a barricade pulling out of the work parking lot the day before.

I climbed into the car carefully, strapping myself in. I checked the seatbelt twice, adjusted the mirrors, and pressed a few buttons for good measure. Confident I was secure, I melded into the progression of cars, bound for god knows where.

The sky was a thousand fluorescent suns, surrounded by dark clouds. It was strangely beautiful, in an artificial sort of way. I didn’t bother looking up at it, though. I couldn’t have, anyway, since my head was locked forward, my eyes on the progression of cars ahead of me as they melted away from me one at a time, bound for god knows where.

Soon, there was no one in front of me, just the open road. I could almost have smiled, in that moment, if I were not so set on getting to where I needed to be. There was no one in front of me, so it was rather odd that I suddenly heard a screech of metal and a loud thud right next to me.

For some reason, my eyesight ballooned white and something punched me in the mouth. My legs, which had already been dangling limply from my torso, folded all the way up under the steering wheel. Then, I was flying.

I was sure I had checked my seatbelt, so you can imagine my surprise when I found myself hurling forward, into the reinforced glass. It didn’t break, but I did. I didn’t feel a thing, though, which I thought was strange. I must have died right when I hit the window. That was good, I would have hated to have suffered.

“Dammit!”

I heard a voice from outside my window, in the sky made of a thousand flourescent suns. A man appeared in the shattered driver side window. He peered scholarly into the car, not making any move to help me.

Turning over his shoulder, he called out to someone I could not see, “I think we need to fix the seatbelts. These aren’t holding any weight at all.”

He fussed around with the seat belt for a bit, then turned to look me in the eyes. Though he did not seem unkind, there was no empathy in his voice. When he spoke to me, it was as if we had some great inside joke between us that I did not understand: “Sorry buddy, better luck next time.”

Photo by Chris Liverani on Unsplash

A Fair Evening [Poem]

The dark chocolate echoing of dusk
resounds
against the Ferris Wheel
overlooking the fairgrounds

That bittersweet evening
Is on my lips
And the errant air
Tastes like apple-crisps

Though cotton-candy conversation parched,
as if by design
Your hands are water
And your lips wine

Photo by Stanislav Ferrao on Unsplash

At DVerse today, the prompt is to write a Quadrille poem consisting of 44 words exactly (not including the title) in response to the challenge. The word today is ‘Fair’ and it must be used in some form within your poem.

The Old Swing-Set [Poem]

That old swing-set
was young when I was young,
its shoulders fresh painted
and its swings not yet deep rust-set.

We made fast friends,
that old swing-set and I,
though he sometimes threw me from his shoulders
knocking my knees and dusting my hands

That swing-set’s hands are splintered
and I visit my old friend with calloused hands
to find his swings gone and his paint chipped
from when I was away those many, many winters.

I climb his side with a book in hand,
as I once did when I was younger,
and I read all afternoon with my old friend
in the shadow of the boy I was – now a man.

At DVerse, the prompt today is to write a poem recalling some specific thing or things from the past OR more generally about what evokes a memory or memories in you.

Photo by Tobias Kebernik on Unsplash

The King’s Last Stand [Short Story]

The king lay in bed with a fever. He had been this way ever since three days before, when the peasants had waged an uprising in the town outside the castle’s walls.

He could hear them dancing and singing through his window. It made him sick. How dare they take his kindness for granted?

A servant entered the room: “My lord, the people are asking you to forsake the throne. What will you do?”

The king curled up under his blankets: “I will do no such thing! Woe is me! I am bombarded yet I stand here still! I will not give up my kingdom. It is my right to rule!”

The servant slid a long dagger from the sleeve of his robe: “I have enjoyed serving you, my lord. I am sorry to hear you feel that way.”

At DVerse today, the prompt is to write a piece of flash fiction or other prose of up to or exactly 144 words, including the given line: I am bombarded yet I stand.

Photo by Randy Fath on Unsplash

To Live Forever [Short Story]

If she had a name once, she had long since forgotten it. Two years ago, she signed away her identity to join human trials to solve the troublesome issue of death. They had not told her that to solve death they had to induce it many times because the scientific method demanded that their results be replicable.

The first time they killed her was not so bad. The second and third times were harder. By the fourth time, she was tired of coming back. Still, the experiments continued.

Every night her mirror reflected a faceless shadow. After two years, the experiments were declared a success. She was, beyond a reasonable doubt, the first immortal.

She traveled the world with company representatives to tout their success and sat in the front row as the scientist who had killed her 731 times accepted a Nobel Peace Prize for his work. As he took the stage, she began to cry and a reporter later wrote that she was crying with joy.

The faceless shadow from her mirror walked up and stood beside her as she cried. It leaned down and whispered to her in her own voice a language of death that only she knew. It told her it would never leave her side, as long as she lived.

For the rest of her life, and she is still alive somewhere, her death remained incarnate, cursed to live, wandering a pace or two behind her wherever she went and whispering in her ear the truths she did not want to hear.

Photo by Blake Carpenter on Unsplash