Bits, pieces and a guillotine shout out

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Clip art.

Happy December. A short one.

Had two birthdays this weekend, made the ugliest angel food cake. From scratch. Oh the horror. It tasted okay, it just looked like a flat, chewed on by tiger’s prop from a z-rate horror movie set. It should have been featured on some ugly foods website. Even with frosting and a jam layer, that poor cake should have been taken out back and kindly beat to death, then buried in the earth.

So!

My year seems to be ending well, writing-wise.

I placed a story with the Whistle Pig—Pearlie At the Gates of Dawn.

I placed a story with the Ghastling—the Little Visitors.

Just found out my play, the Bluegrass of God, was accepted by the Santa Ana River Review.

My poem—My Feet Hurt—will be part of the  Rumpus’s Enough section.

I am currently working on a screenplay based on a short story of mine from Oregon Gothic. Prince Charming Finds His Sleeping Beauty is that tale, and the movie title, for right now, is just Prince Charming. I am collaborating with a director/film maker from the Czech Republic, with a first draft more or less done. Working on the newest version.

Got a royalty check in the mail. Small but still a check. It’s still such a wonder to be paid, even a tiny smidge, for something I wrote.

So a few hits, lots of misses. Writing some. Writing political screams but if I posted them, I’d be arrested. As they focus on things like how to build a guillotine and how to stage a revolution on a shoestring budget.

I’ll end on a truly trivial note. Been watching a BBC series called Young Dracula. Cause. Yeah. It’s so much better than it should be. It’s quite funny. I enjoy it. I’m in season three, which features a major tonal shift, a new setting and some could be interesting new characters. I’d never heard of it. It’s from OVER TEN YEARS AGO.

I also binged season three of Marvelous Mrs. Maisel. The gut-punch cliffhanger…damn it. The world is already burning alive right now. I am not looking forward to season four. I find I want light, frothy entertainment these days. I wonder why. Oh yeah!

Also, anyone out there want to see Cats? Is it the acid trip horror it promises to be??? I’d be down for that. Trippy weird cat-human morph mistakes high kicking for two hours through giant cardboard-looking high school sets…! I am so in!! A deliciously bad musical misfire? Or did those damn trailers totally lie about how good this confection is?? And the new Star Wars. I might have to leave the house. If only to start building a guillotine. Or change the kitten’s poop dirt.

Shivering

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Hey, can I chew on that electrical cord? Can I?? Can I??

Happy December. I wrote the following ‘a while back’ when I lived in Maryland. Pre- 9/11. The kitten has been up since two thirty. So, too, have I. 

 

SHIVERING

Shivering, I am always cold
or always hot,
sometimes mildly comfortable for a few hours.
I like how socks look on my feet.
As if my feet were small, delicate and fashionable.
However, they are wide, callused and stubby,
but they get me around.
Which is what feet are supposed to do.
Poor feet, I am always losing my socks.
Sometimes they don’t match, sometimes they have holes,
sometimes they’re new socks.
Will I be old someday, still looking for a matching pair
of foot coverings?
Wandering about in some room that no longer exists,
looking underneath imaginary chairs for my socks?
Calling out, as if they will answer.
I’m cold.
Come do your job.
I’m shivering.
Naughty socks, to hide that way
from an old insane lady.

Micro

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A sunset in Eastern Oregon

A few micro fiction attempts of mine. 

 

SUGAR AND FIRE

Is there is anything as sugar-sweet as first love? Maybe an actual slice of carrot cake with cream cheese frosting comes close. I, at fifty-four, had finally succumbed. Oh, the resistance to the universe itself! My avoidance of others, my shyness a shadowy wall others seldom wished to try and climb. She takes my hand. We watch the world burn together. The delight in her eyes beneath the sorrow we both manufacture. Our honey laughter as we nod solemnly. The delight we succumb to as we sink to the oily dirt to couple like snakes in a famous garden. We drown in sugar and fire.

 

VENEER

Lulu opened the box marked Veneer. The curled up skeleton of her father’s cat. The claw marks on the thick cardboard. But Veneer had not been a young strong cat when put into the cardboard tomb. “I killed my cat for your mother,” Kaleb said. Lulu folded the leaves back into place, traced the old duct tape remnants. “She asked me to prove if I loved her. What can I do, I asked. What can I do? Your mother held Veneer in her arms. She held him out to me, my trusting little Veneer. Always such a small cat. Kill him for my sake. I want to be your goddess. I command you to kill him. For my sake. So I did, Lu. I did. A box, some duct tape. Quiet then the stink. Then just quiet.”
“Love is bigger than cats,” Lulu replied. “My new stepfather doesn’t get that.”

 

DRUNKEN BEES

Bloom hated her name. She had a tattoo of the devil on her arm to remind her she was not some flower or houseplant. Be nice, her nice mother counseled without an ounce of pity. One day, as stories often start, Bloom noticed a tree. A little plum tree with white-petaled glories full of drunken bees having orgies and feasts. Her fingers ran along the back of a bee, but it melted away to the next blossom’s well. I wish to be the bee, not the flower, Bloom decided. She cut off her princess long hair, she wandered the world looking for herself. Time passed with enjoyment, with sorrow; she tasted almond candies in Marseille, she slapped a bear in Canada. I am Bloom blooming, she often said, then got it written on the back of her latest lover. On her deathbed, she held out her hand. Bring me a plum tree full of drunken bees. I want to start this all over again. Her fingers ran over the air. I wrote my name in the skin of this world. I wrote my name.

Murder Mittens

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Murder mittens always an option. 

The kitten plays. She’s lively, endearing, clearly on stimulants such as crack or triple expressos. Her broken jaw has not held her up much. The stitches were removed, the vet declared Jaws doing well. It’s her nickname. Jaws. Probably, eventually, her name. She enjoys attacking the dog’s tails. We have three dogs, all with long wavy tempting tails. Jaws stalks each one, sneaks up on it, does the wrap all four paws around tail, kick with rhythmic precision until whatever dog has been enduring this decides enough is enough. Jaws like to hide beneath the loveseat, bat at the nearest dog waiting for food to fall into his or her mouth from the indulgent humans nearby.

The kitten also wakes up in the middle of the night. Wet cat nose. Murder mittens about my foot. Plaintive meows. Are you up yet, giant inept cat? I read where cats regard humans as other giant ‘very bad at being cats’ cat. It’s why they bring us gifts of dead mice or a dead bird, often not so dead. Our pet cats are trying to feed us.

So, the state of American politics at present. I feel like pouring a giant glass of whiskey, with some Coke thrown in it, and watching it all burn to the ground. Maybe that would finally satisfy everyone. We can all enjoy the flames, roast some marshmallows, blame it all on the DNC, Nancy Pelosi, millennials and those who lack civility.

People will vote straight R because the ‘other side’ uses curse words. Okay, sure.

I also notice that the Dems do not play offense. Ever. It’s always a bewildered ‘here are the facts, why don’t you get it?’ blinky sort of ingrained trained door mat niceness.

As the Republican PR propaganda machine churns out 24/7, every minute, whatever reality they wish pushed and believed.

Ukraine interfered in our elections in 2016! Investigate the Bidens! Hillary sold uranium! The polls are rising in favor of Trump!

And so many more, over and over and over, repeated, over and over and over, repeated, over and over and over. Relentless.

There does not seem to be a counter to that, other than a timid ‘that’s not true, here’s the truth, m’kay, you guys.’ Any actual fiery response or push back seemingly gets shot down. By the other Democrats.

Calm down. Calm down, be polite, don’t upset the apple cart, take the high road.

Until that one actually fighting back gets silenced or even shoved out. It doesn’t seem a coincidence that the fighters and loud mouths all seem absent, missing or gone altogether. Or those speaking out don’t get supported or defended that much as the right, with a gleeful savagery, goes after that person with lies, more lies and damn lies. Hello, AOC.

Adam Schiff practically has to be a robot, speaking without much passion or anger. Pelosi has to remain preternaturally calm in the face of rabid hyenas snapping their foamy jaws in her face.

Any show of anger or outrage from the left gets met with how nuts they are, how ANGRY all the time, how they hate America and Americans, how…oh sure. Until the Dems get so trained to be calm apologists you tend to…ignore whatever they might say. Which is the whole fucking point of training them so.

And I find myself wishing a Dem would snap, and just go to town on the R’s. That other Dems start repeating talking points in counter to the talking points we always hear–

That Dems are weak on family values. That Dems are into spending. That Dems are blah blah blah.

Boil down a few very simple talking points that counter the message that Dems are unAmerican fringe weirdos intent on turning everyone gay after handing out free abortions to middle schoolers.

Dems fix the economy after Republicans wreck it. Dems stand for human rights when Republicans don’t. Dems want immigration reformed, not some free for all whoever wants to enter can bullshit. That fucking wall needs to be shoved up the nearest MAGA asshole sans lubricant. Protect the environment. Wrecking the land, water and air will not make America great. It will just make America uninhabitable.

Just some thoughts.

The kitten has slipped off somewhere. She likes to look out the windows. I need to get her fixed before she can return outside a bit. I have made myself her caretaker and servant. I have no wish to lose her as she seeks out mates or take care of more cats as she churns out unwanted kittens.

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Brigit and the new fast-moving not-mouse having a bit of a snuggle. 

Human Clay Pot

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Brigit and Jake enjoying the newly shorn corn field

HUMAN CLAY POT

I want someone to tell me the truth.
That judgment that I should give up
and turn back from this road.
That the sky holds no wonders or joys
for my consumption,
that grace will not better me
into some sort of badly mended
maniacally grinning
human pot of perfect clay.
That the wind does not know my name,
that the birds get eaten
by stray cats
indifferent to hope and struggle.
That nothing good will arrive
like a warm pie from
the oven of the heavens.
Tell me the truth so I can rest.
So I can stop hoping.
Goddamn it, hope
cut me into a thousand pieces.
And I have nothing remaining
but a bitter cup of dust
to sustain me now.

 

note– written last year or maybe this year. All the days seem the same day anymore. 

Land of Wheat and Whale Clouds

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Eastern Oregon wheat field and cloudy day

LAND OF WHEAT AND WHALE CLOUDS

Soon that fence will crumble
and let me walk
into that land of wheat and whale clouds
where I can pretend how free
I am.
My lips form patient words
for the silly dying
of weeds and dreams and illusions
that make my eyes fill with salt.
Gratitude that I know
I’ll never get to walk there
and I’ll never have to be brave
and never have to be honest.
Because I have words
that will get lost in those whale clouds
that sink below the blunt little hills.
Such a relief
that I kept them inside
where no one has to make polite faces
over the ordinary agony
expressed.

 

 

note– found this tucked away, as you do. It was one of several versions. 

Something About Mist

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from HGTV

 

SOMETHING ABOUT MIST

Something about mist and time and pumpkins
in a patch.
Something about children and candy
and costumes.
Something about the turning of the old year
into the new.
Something about snow and angels
and trees dressed up
in decorations not yet broken or lost.
Something about love and apple cider
and chilly nights.
Something about beauty and peace
and how fast time is.
Something about hope and death
and leaves recycled.
Something already said
many times in dull ways
that we look forward to like
a handful of candy corn
still left from last Halloween.

 

note: I wrote this for the monthly poetry contest last year or the year before that. Time seems oddly fluid anymore.