Sunday, September 30, 2018

Mind's Eye

"Mind’s Eye" by Brian Keith Forsythe

Slipping into the ocean of her mind
Lost in tumultuous currents
Carried ever deeper
Riding the maelstrom bravely

Resolutely weathering this chaotic vortex
Filled with terror, trepidation, and shame
But strangely tinged with hope as well

Through the breach into the mind's eye
I feel your soul shivering nervously
Gently caressing it to calm any skittishness
My love radiating in every touch
Fear and pain melting away
Leaving a glowing alabaster pillar
That is such a lovely soul

Freed at last from vile memories
A shared love consummated
Soulmates brought together
Content at last

My name is Brian Keith Forsythe. Originally from the United States of America, I now live in the beautiful city of Calgary, Alberta, Canada with my amazing wife. Writing has always been an integral part of my life. At 16 years of age, I was fortunate enough to have four poems printed in a local magazine. Shortly thereafter I joined the Military. I have served my country in the Navy as a submariner. Having witnessed the military life, as well as a long and eventful life, my poetry has become a very cathartic practice for me. I love riding my motorcycle, and playing video games is a real hobby of mine. I have always been a voracious reader which has contributed to my wide-ranging vocabulary. I am possessed by a huge passion for writing.

Monday, September 24, 2018

Escaping Alcatraz

"Escaping Alcatraz" by Alahana Isgrigg 
Upon this earth you walk
Seeking deviant shelter

In the embodiment of man
Hidden amongst the throng 
Convinced you can do no wrong 
Zeroed in on your target
Innocently blinded by you
And your wicked plan
Unbeknownst a fate 
Thought to be sealed 
Upon recalcitrance met 
Beasts true nature now revealed
How did I miss the warning signs
Displayed before me
So consistently
Flags of coagulated vibrancy
When down this road
I’ve traveled
The times to count
Are too many
Leaving pieces of myself
Along the way
Like bread crumbs
None too gentle reminders
That from this path
I must stray
Return to the drawing board
The task at hand
This process of reinventing
Could use some tweaking
Wipe clean my slate
My equation unable
To meet any previous demand
The root of which, I swear
Is more than square
Tears divided
And carry the heart
Back to the beginning
Is where I start.

Alahana Isgrigg been a lover of books for as far back as she can remember. She started writing poetry briefly as a teenager. Only to pick it back up again five years ago and plans to one day publish her first poetry book. Alahana is Nashville born currently residing in a yuppie suburb on the outskirts of Austin, Tx. She dreams of returning home someday, but will keep it “Austin Weird” wherever she ends up.

Wednesday, September 19, 2018

Without the Rare

"Without the Rare" by Noe Basurto

I woke up in the Morning
Feeling Kind of Rare
But this Time
What Caused this Effect
Was not One of those

Last Night I had it Great

No, Not a Hangover
Deeply Swimming in my Mind
A thought in need of Oxygen
So as I let
The Soul I Am express this
kind of Rare the feel gets
As Live Images
With Words
I begin to paint
So if you are reading this
Just Wonder

How would Life on Gaia be
Without the Rare
I Wonder
How without

Just Imagine our Society
No Creative Minds
Complemented well
A Golden Heart
~ Rare Personalities ~

Can you Imagine that
I have been Having Dreams
Of an Earth
Without Melodies

One where
The Sun
By the Thrill of BirdS
Welcomed no more iS
As Dawn Breaks

Could you even Imagine
One where
Music and Hearts do not beat

One without
Who would rock
To the Drummer Banging
The Drums Of our Sharp Ears

Can you Imagine
Our Planet
Without the Artists?
I Write Because
I Have been having Dreams
A Colorless earth

One Where
The Essence of Life
Painted no more is
As the Sun Shines
LightLy getting Past
Through a pair of eyes
As Rain~dropS
No Rainbows
Can you Imagine that
Earth would be Just
An Emptiness so Vast
Like A Canvas
To be painted
But not a Painter's SouL
Be around that
To let his/her Brush Stroke
So I write
~ Without the Rare ~
What if none existing were
Our Spoken ~
Body ~
Written ~

Just Imagine a World
Where not even a Mime
Would be able to Express
His Wordless Deep sentiment

Maybe after reading this
You might like to try
Listening to SiLence

As I ponder
On those dreams
Of How would Earth be
Without Ink dripping
From a Poet/Poetess Heart
yeah ~
Those deeply written Words
Which when been read
Will make U In Verse Relate
With He/She who Writes

As I have tonight ... ...
©️2018 Noe Basurto

A writer born in a small town on the outskirts of Mexico's capital.  I discovered I could write at 13 but focused my writing to personal journals. I began writing in earnest in 2015 and started a social media page to share my voice. 

Sunday, September 16, 2018


"g.o.d." by Eric Keizer
I cannot stop the thought of running out the door.
Coming up, a which way sign,
All good truants must decide.
-Immortality, Pearl Jam.

And maybe God really does mean,
Good orderly direction,
But not for downward spirals, vortices and whirlpools,
And tornadoes in my head.
Storms of rage and deceit,
Shrinking from lights,
But in dismal finality-
Because it’s all futile
And hindsight is a bitch.
Sins aren’t forgiven,
Just catalogued and
Pressed into moist skin
Like brands on
Doe eyed innocents,
Tallied just before slaughter.

Eric Keizer was born and raised in Chicago. He earned his B.A. in English from Drake University, and his M.Ed. from Aurora University. He lives in northern Illinois with his wife Julie, and his dog, Emma. Eric’s first published work was a short story included in an anthology. Since then, he has had one solo collection of poetry, Urban Mythology (2017), an anthology with eight other poets, Ambrosia (2017), and his latest chapbook, Vignettes.

Monday, September 10, 2018


"Rations" by Wayne Olson

Don’t be so eager to let your thoughts escape.
Parse your words and your feelings, do more with less,
Serve them up slowly like water to a parched wanderer,
Let her wishes and hopes ferment and ripen,
Never say all you wish or all she wishes;
Some is good, but in this case more is not better,
Give her enough to move her,
To hint at the direction you are headed,
Never give her too much at one time,
Though you ache to do so,
It’s not in her best interest,
Too much water washes away the seed,
And too much food always killed the goldfish.

-Wayne Olson

I started writing in my late teens.  I took to writing short stories at first, then poetry later and love the ability to say much with few words.  I have always been on the introverted side, very comfortable in my own space, so writing suited my need for expression.  I have had a very rich spiritual life since childhood which is very much part of my nature, so much of what I have gleaned from those experiences finds its way into my writings.  Poems are my ship’s “logbook” on this voyage thru life.

Thursday, September 6, 2018

Rose on the hill

"Rose on the hill" by Lena Power
A single red Rose bloomed on the hill
Surrounded by the Weeping Willows
Calling ever to her lost lover true
Encased within deep mossy pillows

A lonely rain cloud hovered above
To shower upon her beauty its tears
For the loss of her one true love
That caused her blossom through the years
Come the Winter of her broken heart
she would fade away in destitution
Only in Summer to be born to a new start
Offering her desolate bud no solution
The Eagle swooped to kiss her petals
Humming birds came to sing their tune
So gentle towards her were the nettles
So pacifying was the sweet full moon
Alone she mourned watching lovers pass by
The thorns of sadness causing her to bleed
All she wanted was to be allowed to die
But the seasons would not allow her to succeed.
© Lena Power 01/09/18.

Poetry is my passion!  I started writing as early as ten, but did not formally pursue.  Recently retired I continue to use ink as a creative outlet.  Prior to retiring I was a certified personal trainer & coach as well as facilitator.  I write daily and my works are available on several social media websites, blogs & groups.

Tuesday, September 4, 2018

Lies, Hurt-Sponges and Planet Carla

"Lies, Hurt-Sponges and Planet Carla" by Dan J. Kidd

All people lie to themselves, in some way, trust me.
My friend Jerry tells people he never finished his masters at Villanova because his dad passed away half way through and he got so depressed that he could not even get out of bed to go to class, most days. That's about all he tells people about it and all he has, for years.
It is sad that Jerry lost his dad, he was a cool guy. And it affected the son deeply, sure. But the real reason Jerry dropped out of the graduate program--the prime mover as I understand the meaning of that phrase--was that Jerry was a drunk. And I mean not just a zany, fun-loving, beer-pounding, harmlessly outrageous rascal, like so many of us were at times. I mean he has always been a fall-down, blackout-drinking, shit-don't-bring-that-guy to-the-party, get-some-help-man, drunk. A real alcoholic, and bad.
Jerry had been that in ever-worsening stages since we were freshmen together at St. Lucia of the Mountain High School up in Kepatchee. He continued being a hopeless drunk through all 4 undergrad years at the College of William and Mary He is one of the brightest guys I ever met, a lot more of an intellectual than me. But he was put on academic probation twice at William and Mary and even caught a DUI and destruction of property case his junior year there. Campus Security called the real police when they observed Jerry's Chevy Blazer doing reverse donuts and figure 8's for a full 20 minutes right on the main quad in front of the Dean of Arts and Sciences building. It was a warm May night and they had just gotten a very heavy rain down there and old Jerry's oversized all-seasons really tore into the school's showpiece lawn, gobs of mud and huge swaths of green grass kicking up everywhere. 'Flying carpet samples, man!' Jerry said, over gin and tonics at Chi Chi's Mexican Restaurant that summer. Jerry was very witty.
Come to think of it, that last part's not true or the second to last part, rather. That night at Chi Chi's, there was me, Tommy Morrison, Andy Dade and this girl Sasha he was banging and all of us but Jerry were just drinking sodas and eating appetizers, no booze though. I know we met during the week to catch up and we all had jobs to be accountable to in the morning. Our sense of adulthood was galvanizing, maybe.
2 / 8
I don't think Jerry was working much, maybe part time. He has had a lot of jobs and a lot of really varied types of jobs, mostly shitty ones though and the one's that were not too shitty, he never got on his own. A few of us have pulled strings a few times to get Jerry decent employment but back then we had no strings to pull. But he must have had like 5 Tanqueray and tonics at the table and that is just what I saw and he never ate a bite of food. I remember nervously paying my share of the bill before the waiter even got to our table with it.
Funny what you remember. Funny how we remember, sometimes.
I recall making up a lie that Meg was mad at me for having to work the weekend of her cousin's wedding and so I had to eat and run. That's the ticket. 'You know I'm already in the dog house with her, so I need to bolt way early.' Yeah, I probably did say some corny, weak shit like that. I was young.
But the real reason I hustled out of Chi Chi's so fast that night was that when I popped up from our corner booth and started for the men's room in the other part of the restaurant to piss, I glanced over at the bar and there was Jerry. He had at least 4 emptied shot glasses in front of him and was waving a wad of cash at this pretty little Latin bartender, screaming something. I don't know what but with Jerry in his cups, it could have been anything. The little bartender looked concerned and confused but not really scared or anything.
What happened then was one of the animal-looking spanish guys from the kitchen came out and went behind the bar and said something to the cutie slinging drinks and then she went into the kitchen without a word. The guy looked tough, really tough. Sorta short and stocky but hard and fearless. Mean-looking. Or maybe not mean as much as crazy.
Anyway, he pushed his wide, muscular chest out and threw his shoulders back and had this unsettling glare fixed on tall, sloppy Jerry. He was almost looking through Jerry with those dark, wild eyes.
This little Latin dude with the eyes, he also had these huge brown forearms, powerful boy. And the way he rooster strutted and paced behind the bar made me think of a Latin Popeye the Sailor for a second. I don't guess that is funny, just true and what is even more true and less humorous is that this little motherfucker, he did not give a fuck. About shit. You could tell. He did not care if you were rich or poor. He did not care if you were big or small, drunk or sober. He did not care if you knew Karate or your dad was mayor or you wore a badge, he was that type. And our dude most especially did not give a single fuck if you were a feckless, overprivileged white-boy college fuck who had never done a year of really hard work in his puta life or even paid his own car loan or food bill, yet. In all cases, this guy would fuck you up, with malice. It seemed likely that he was very close to offering that same equality of brutalization to drunk Jerry.
3 / 8
Wish I knew what Jerry had said to get him so pissed. Anyway, this bristling tan fireplug looked like he wanted to bash or kill Jerry right where he wobbled and that is the real reason I was taking off early, not Meghan. It was Jerry being a terrible drunk and related ongoing trouble that made me disappear so quickly. An embarrassing liability and a burgeoning danger, he was. What could I do?
I will tell you again though, it is not just Jerry. We are all liars on some things and that means both to ourselves and others.
Funny but then a lot of people who love you, they will lie right back at you by pretending to believe the lie you are promoting. And over time, the lie evolves or mutates into something more. It does not ever become truth exactly but maybe the agreed upon lie almost gives people permission to feel like it is the truth. In this way, it smells better and seems more consumable.
We all add to it, too. Most times we all lend to each other's lies, it's just easier I guess.
Hell, 18 years later Jerry's wife still puts on this dramatic mask of sympathy when the topic of Jerry failing out of Grad school comes up. "Oh, Gerald. You know you coulda made it through Villanova, you are brilliant. You really almost did, anyway, in a way. You almost really did get your masters, I mean, for all intents and purposes. What were you, like 5 classes away? Didn't you already have your thesis paper planned, sort of? I know you had some great ideas, you told me. It was losing your dad, Jerry. I mean, that is enough to break anyone. Poor baby. You had a right to feel sad, you loved your dad. We all have a right to feel our feelings." Wow.
It's nice that Linda is so supportive, don't get me wrong. But see, it's a lie. Jerry was not making it to his classes at Villanova--not reliably anyway--and that had been the case from day one. His drinking had gotten even worse and he was doomed to flunk out of grad school way before his dad died, I'm telling you. I know because he would call me drunk at least twice a week, sometimes in the morning and tell me as much. "Dude, the bars down here are fucking sick, dude. You gotta come down soon. I am like fucking out of my mind every night but I can't get my ass to any of my classes except for the two afternoon seminars. Oh hey, I finally got that new tatt I was obsessing over, remember?"
Jerry sticks with his lie though, I'll say that for him. Then, now and maybe forever. He believes it himself at this point, I am pretty sure. It has taken on a power of sorts and it routes his thoughts around the school failure, I think. I can't say for sure but I can reasonably guess that he thinks like 'Man, if it weren't for my dad having that aneurysm out of nowhere and me getting depressed, I'd have finished up at Villanova and by now I'd be kicking ass as a senior architecht or Project Director at a good firm or maybe
4 / 8
even have my own consulting company. But I guess we cannot control or plan some things in life and some things are not our fault.'
If my friend Jerry does think along those lines, then I would say he is broadly correct. We cannot plan for everything and not everything is our fault. But specifically, as it applies to him and his flopping out of Villanova like that? Well, it doesn't. See, he would not have finished at that school or done much more than he has in life had his dad lived to be 150 years old. The reason is that Jerry was a drunk, as bad as one can get and drunks can't do shit because they are always drunk, that's all.
But the lie, it is now his legend. It is a big part of what defines him. It is heard-tell of all over and so the people around Jerry just nod and agree to it which sorta makes liars out of them, too. Their assent to the lie is sorta like collateral damage that originates from Jerry's drop-out lie, let's say. So all he gets is poor Jerry and your poor dad and the Villanova victim rap and everyone's comforted but stuck and I guess that's the deal that's made.
I remember too this woman at my first office, Carla Falluci. Nice gal. Not very educated but a very sharp lady in her own way. I remember she had a sixth-sense-knack for technology and really could have been more than the Assistant Procurement Manager. She'd learned this new supply chain software I'd purchased for the company faster than I did and I went to school for this stuff, it's not easy. It took her team forever to get the hang of it but it was like saying her ABC's to her. Yeah, Carla was a bright woman, no question. I also remember her as a kind and caring person and a good mom, always doing for her kids. No husband around though, not that I cared. Not my business. She loved the Seattle SeaHawks, that's also true.
Carla was fat, I should just say it. If I am honest, that is really the first thing that bursts to mind if I think of her those many years ago. And I mean REALLY big, pushing four bills. She was almost like whoa, double-take fat. She was enormous, ok? That's enough, I don't want to belittle anyone but it's important to my point that her gargantuan size is understood.
Anyway, Carla did the same as Jerry, she lied--except about a different topic. Carla could apparently not bear saying the plain and simple truth about why she was so heavy and I am being kind here, remember.
Carla often lamented her weight issue pretty publicly to me and a few other employees in the office. She seemed to adopt this very matter-of-fact air about her obesity and how it made her look. She often referred to herself as 'Planet Carla' and purposely pointed out that she had to sit in this sorta extra-reinforced double-wide office chair she had gotten online, special order. She called it 'Space Station Carla.'
5 / 8
It is hard for me to say exactly what I mean here but I want to say she sorta faked being so straight-forward about her size. It was not real. It was really an act or ruse or something and I think she did it both to reinforce her lie and to try to alter perception about her and her weight before others made their own negative judgements. Again, Carla was smart, for sure. Smart and huge.
But it was not her fault, she said. "I joke around about it, you guys know me. We have to laugh in life, what else is there? I love having fun. Plus, I am a very honest person, I call a spade a spade and I am one super-sized spade, that's me! But I also need to remind myself sometimes and be like 'Hey, Carla, it's not like all your 'fault' ver se." She meant 'per se' but always got it wrong and said "ver se." I can see big Carla now, leaning back in her great, steel-girded, love-seat-office chair, making 'ver se' air quotes and breathing heavy.
Carla's story was that there was nothing she could do about her weight aside from surgery and God knows she couldn't afford that. She'd been to all the doctors in the world and was on every diet known to man since she was a teenager and had spent thousands on gym memberships in her life, too. Carla liked to say she had "worn the tread off of many a tread mill." But she would not ever lose more than a few meager pounds because of metabolism. That was the problem, metabolism. It was a perplexing genetic condition the doctors weren't sure about but a real thing, not made up. She even said she had documentation.
But Carla would never would give you specifics when you asked and I asked. She'd stick with the same vague answers everytime, though. Metabolism. That was all there was to it, she said. The doctors told her she had a bad metabolism and her genetics made it all a done deal, so eating way less and obsessing over carbs, fats, sodium and sugars and exercise would basically be pointless. As hopeless as her case is, she's a trooper and still tries. 'Never give up,' that was Carla's motto. Plus, she's an Aries and you know how stubborn that makes her. Even though she has no control over her weight, she puts tons of work in. She still totally eats like a skinny bitch, she says. "You should see my cupboard at home, all rice cakes, fruit and tofu. I mean, what am I--a big Chinese hamster? Haha, I need to stop!" Poor Carla.
Yes, I suspected she was being self-excusing and not fully honest but who am I? No one to judge, that's who. I am no doctor or nutritionist either, that's for damn sure. Maybe she really was victim of bad metabolism and predestined genetics, I told myself. I am here to work, anyway, not investigate Carla's cupboard. Live and let live, I say.
Thing is, one day Carla's younger sister came into the office unannounced. I know what you are thinking, no she was not big like Carla. She actually had a pretty great body. She should have, I guess, she was always coming from or going to the gym from what I remember and the rumor was she used to strip at
6 / 8
one of the little joints on Fate Street. But Carla and her younger sister did not get along at all, that’s for sure.
So, late one afternoon, the hot-bodied stripping sister came in and got into this very explosive argument right at Carl’s desk. It was one of the worst of it's kind I have had to witness. Cutting and acerbic is what it was. So much bitterness in it. It was demoralizing even to watch. Siblings really can mince each other up, ever notice? Carla was getting her licks in too but at least was playing within civilized limits. She kept trying to talk in hushed tones and keep an even keel to some degree. Not her sister, no sir. Her sister was loud and I mean really loud. And her vibe was like, ghetto. Carla's sister may have had a body on her but she was about as mean as they come.
"Whatever, Carla, ok?! WHAT-EVV-ERR! You go ahead and keep telling yourself and all these nice people that you are fucking 389 pounds because of metabolism. We all believe you, I am sooo sure! Yeah, I found your 4 empty Big Mac cartons behind the seat in the truck yesterday, Carla. And the empty french fry containers. I found the receipt too dipshit, it was all one order and dated yesterday, so don't try bullshit with me! Your baby daddy had the boys and I for damn sure don't eat that crap, look at this body. So who did it Carla? Who got all that piggy food? Tell us! The cats? Did the kitties eat all those greasy burgers and fries, Carla? Did Miss Prowler and Queenie Cat take the truck down to McDonald's and hit the drive-through window yesterday? Is that what happened? Hardy Harr Harr! BUSTED! And I don't care if they do hear me, they should. You got more money from mom's house when she passed and look at you!! It's not fair!! Fancy-schmancy office job, so what? You're not smarter than everyone Carla, just remember. You think everyone's dumb, Miss Smarty Pants? Four Big Macs in one sitting and all those greasy fries and the pecan pies you hide under your bed, Carla. That's why you're so fat and why Derek left you. Period! It's not metabolism!"
Poor Carla, I mean it this time. What a rough day. It’s not like we were close but she was a nice lady from what I knew and a great employee. Carla. The poor thing imploded that day, though and I cannot blame her. Her whole body sorta collapsed inward on itself and she covered her entire face with her hands, right where she sat in Space Station Carla. Then she started sobbing, God it was bad. It started out sorta soft and then got louder and louder. Then it would sorta die down and get pretty quiet for about half a minute and when you thought it is over, it was not. After a bit, she would be full-on wailing again, loud as ever. God I hate those situations.
Thankfully, after a couple of minutes of this someone got our GM, Don Flaherty. Don could be a hard-ass but that was just part of him. He was also a really good guy, old school. So, it was a huge relief when I saw Don steaming out from his back office in a hurry with the sleeves of his rumpled blue oxford shirt rolled up to his elbows, red-faced and outraged. He still had his reading glasses on, riding low on the bridge of his nose and he swooped back a shaggy swath of his salt and pepper hair as he made his final, determined descent. Classic Don Flaherty.
7 / 8
Don did not have to talk much, his appearance did most of the work for him. His shoulders were back and his chest out, strong. The veins in his old 53 year old ex-hockey player’s neck bulged, rippling against his undersized collar. He had a natural air of authority via unintentional intimidation that cannot really be taught in management classes, it’s either in you or it is not in you. A lot of it was in Don always but even more so that morning as he naturally took control of the situation.
Don was all business and did not ask questions. He did not attempt a judicial approach nor pretend to be ready to placate or entertain explanation or be ‘nice’. Instead, he leveled his narrowing eyes on Carla’s sister, employing them like two bright blue lasers, the bitch-killing kind. Everyone in the office had seen him explode more than a few times but this was the scariest he’d ever been because he was being so quiet. We all knew he was just wrangling the tempest of rage he harbored, just underneath. But this attempt at control merely concentrated it.
The great man took a long breath and said his piece to Carla’s horrible sister and as he did, Don’s speech became an unsettling, metered, low grumble-gasp, nearly a whisper and we all tried pretending that we were working every one of us was strainging to hear Don, our guy. The people's champion, really.
"Young lady, you’d better get me the first time because I am giving no second chances today. None. Remember, I said that no matter what else, ok?”
Carla’s sister’s eyes widened and I could see her looking up at Don and slowly nod her head at him.
Don continued.
"What’s going to happen is that you are not going to look at or talk to your sister or any other of my employees, anymore today. I mean not so much as rolling your goddamned eyes in anyone’s direction. I don’t want to hear a goddamned sigh or whisper from you to Carla or anyone else in this office as you leave. And miss, you are leaving, now. You are going to turn around, walk to the parking lot and go directly to your car. You will then drive away and not ever set foot on this property or my office again. Ever. That’s how it is going to be. I will give you 60 seconds to get the hell out of here and sweetheart and don’t test me. I make you God’s own promise that if you are still anywhere on property after that one minute, that there will be no more words from me to you. I’ll just call my good friend Sherriff Rolf and he’ll be glad to help me press charges. I’ll make it a pet project to see you in trouble, I promise. And if you think I’m shittin’ you kid, just TRY ME! Now get the hell out of here. NOW!”
Man, Don was so mad that he was shaking which made Carla’s sister quiver in responsive fear, I could see her knees sort of knocking together a little. She was terrified, so much so that her eyes were also tearing up as she wordlessly did followed instructions and made her way out through the front lobby
8 / 8
and to the exit, in full gallop. About 30 seconds later, we heard tires screech as she peeled out of front lot as fast as she could. Thank God for old Don. He really was something.
After Carla’s sister fled, Don told Carla he was sorry and that she could take the rest of the day off with pay, if she liked. Then he turned and yelled ‘Everyone back to work, no busybodies!’ and trundled back to his office. What a great guy, he was.
Then, Frannie and Kristen flew over to Carla's desk with a box of kleenex and she hiccupped and cried very softly for a bit as Frannie rubbed her back and said ‘Aww, hun. Hun, hun, it’s ok now hun. It’s over now, don’t worry.” It was over. But I felt bad, boy I did. I felt really sad for Carla and hated her sister, that no-class bitch. I also felt a little sick, vaguely useless and uncomfortable. That is the word, extremely uncomfortable.
All that being said, is it also ok to point out that Carla's evil sister was also ultimately right about the cause of Carla's obesity and her lie? I mean, I am not callous in doing so, I don't think. Am I? It's just me getting back to the original point here about every one of us lying to ourselves in some way, about one thing or another.
I guess it is because some things are too painful to look at head on and detail. Some of life's realities are so painful, they sort of soak up all the hurt like sponges. Hurt-sponges, there ya go. For Jerry it was failing out of school, for Carla it was admitting she caused her own obesity, not metabolism. Her sister sucks, it's true but she was at least being honest in that. She was telling a basic truth. In this, she carried the truth and Carla did not, could not. That truth is too heavy for Carla and she may never be able to shoulder it, there's no telling.
I haven't seen ole Carla in 15 years or so. I do hope she is ok, really. I hope she told some truth, lost a lot of weight and is now buying her rolling office chairs ready-made at Staples like everyone else.
I don't know. We all do it, we all lie to ourselves about something, like I keep saying. Believe that, man. We do. I have too. I wonder if I even know what my hurt-sponges may be or if I will ever find them and ring the damn things out, bleach them good too. I could wake up tomorrow and make a list of three big lies I have told myself and then go around like a madman, admitting to everyone I meet the real deal about them--the simple, precise and almost mathematical truth. I could do that. I should. I will do that! I ought to do that, right? I may or may not though, come tomorrow. I could tell you I did, tomorrow night maybe. But you never know, maybe I'll be lying. How would you know? The answer is, you wouldn't or maybe you would just be too nice to call me out on it.


Dan Kidd is an author with a storied past and he’d like to tell them to you. Born outside of Boston MA, Kidd double-majored in history and government at Boston College (1994-1995) before transferring to Georgetown University, Washington, DC (1995-1998) where his focus shifted to International Law and Diplomacy. His yesteryears include extensive travel to the Europe, the middle east and N. Africa A ‘born writer’, Dan Kidd notes that writing is ‘pure’ to him because it is the one transcendent ability that’s been with him since early youth and remains close to his heart today. Dan remains passionate about inventing good stories and developing nuanced, realistic characters who are often absurd, sometimes funny, often sad but always relatable. Dan’s past-experience in creating and writing for his own original comedic characters and performing these in live improv has honed his ability to write real people for real people to read. Forging his own experiences with whole-cloth creative fabrication (or as Dan calls it, ‘bullshit’), Dan refuses to be pinned down by writing in one genre or form and would rather leave room for his reader’s input.

Saturday, September 1, 2018

All That Remains

***Warning - this story contains strong language***

"All That Remains" by Mick Rose

Took me three years to track down John Delaney. Snot dribbled from his nose. But those soulless blue eyes still sparkled with defiance.
I'd jacked him head-long over a battered wooden table—and splayed him spread-eagle. Like a cop shoves a hapless perp against the hood of a car. Yeah, I cuffed his hands, cinched them tight behind his back. But I'd also shackled his ankles to the blood-stained concrete floor. Then looped a noose around his neck—lashing that demented meathead smack against the tabletop so he could only look left.
I hadn't bothered with a gag. No one could possibly hear him. Besides. I wanted him to talk. I felt my composure slipping ... and imagined this derelict house didn't look much different than the noxious shithole had three ancient years ago. Though the cops proved too damn lazy to discover Delaney's lair.
Bile clogged my throat as I snagged his matted hair, squatting on my knees so I could easily glare at him—crazed eyes to crazy eyes.
"I want every detail. Now. You will hold back nothing."
No surprise the asshole spit at me—despite the lug wrench in my hand. Though he cringed and closed his eyes: expecting the arcing metal to meet and dent his head.
Instead I dropped the wrench. This rattled both our ears, while clattering the concrete instead of his worthy skull.
I reached inside my trench coat; fished out a pack of photos. Then like a stack of preschool flash cards, I held each one before his face ... before slowly oh-so-slowly ... moving to the next.
"She was sweet, so sweet," he crooned, blue eyes suddenly glassy: a jagged guttural moan swelling from his chest.
"Tell me something I don't know, Delaney."
"I fucked her," he said, his face now radiant—merry thoughts meandering down his twisted memory lane.
"Fucked her how?"
He giggled. "Every which way. In her mouth. In her ears. In the cunt. Up the ass.
"She called me Daddy the entire time. Every day and night of that blessed week."
All the filth Delaney spewed matched ghoulishly tit-for-tat with the scorched images in my head—the charred lines cut deep—like they'd long been etched with acid. Though I continued to let him babble till finally he proved spent.
I tucked the photos in my coat. Staggered to the fireplace ... and that gray round mound of ash.
But the fires Delaney burned couldn’t claim everything. I spied a strip of shattered lathing, barely clinging to the wall frame, and used the splintered wood to gently spread the pile. Shrouded within that dust … three blackened buckles—one from a belt—and two the only remnants of her patent leather shoes. While bits of teeth and bone screamed at me from the ash.
I tugged a bandana from my trench coat. Collected the twisted buckles, as well as the tiny fragments of teeth and shattered bone. Laid them on the cotton cloth. Heaped a handful of ashes on top. Then securely tied the bundle. Acid clawed my innards. Vomit threatened to surge.
I turned, and walked away. My boot heels echoing off the steps.
No need to take the fucker's life. Starvation would duly claim him. And I'd snatched his greatest treasure—
A golden braided knot of my beloved daughter's hair.


This story first kindly appeared in England’s Near to the Knuckle. When not wandering the United States in his quest for the perfect pizza, Mick Rose writes noir—and sexually tawdry humor. His haiku will soon appear in the Better Than Starbucks September collection. And his 5,000-word story, “The Friend Request” is forthcoming this December in The Anthology of Human Thought—which also features work from poets Tissy Taylor and Carolyn Guiterrez-Abanggan.