Friday, April 30, 2010

The Fire Master

Fireflies - 357
Ben Azevedo

The fire flew around and around, on the ends of two strings held by a man trapped in the center. He wasn’t really trapped though, because he was the one creating the cage of flame. He stepped, skipped, leapt, and danced over the sand in front of the crowd while weaving a never-ending pattern of fiery light around himself.

I had been living in Hawaii for two years now, and I never tired of the fire poi performers. I had even been bold enough to buy a practice pair from a local store. I was a terrible poi dancer though; I gave up after my first attempts led to bruises all over my body. I was just glad I hadn’t tried with actual fire…

The man performing now was a true master. I came out to watch him every week when he practiced on the beach near my house. His “practice” was so good it would draw a crowd of onlookers, usually dozens of people before he finished. Fundamentally, each week was the same, yet he always seemed to change his routine just enough to surprise the audience.

The crowd gasped as he pulled off one of his signature moves, spinning the poi so fast that they burned an afterimage of a butterfly onto the spectators’ retinas. By now, I was used to this trick, so I was mostly amused by the crowds response. But then he did something new, something I had never seen any performer do in my lengthy observation.

The poi seemed to cross and tangle, but somehow stayed in motion. For a split second it seemed he would lose control of the glowing fireballs at the end. Then, in one swift motion, he leaned forward and whirled the poi around his neck. Just as quickly he tilted backwards. The poi leapt up, down, up again, and whirled back into their arcs around his body, completely untangled. The crowd stood in silence for a moment, and then erupted with a cheer. In answer, the poi master sent his fireflies into an even faster dance over his back as he took a deep bow.

Fire Away - Sullivan

Thursday, April 29, 2010

Young Aladdin's Wish #2

Bubbles - 73 Words

Lindsey Thompson

I wish girls came with thought bubbles. they always say these simple sentences laced with hidden meaning. We guys, we say what we mean and don't bother to filter. Hey, life's short, and we're already in the 9th grade! But girls, they have these background emphases, codes that they alone understand.

If I could see what they mean, what they want, in a tiny white could above their heads...

Man, I'd totally get laid.

Mood Rings - Relient K

Wednesday, April 28, 2010

the sun!

Industry - 17 words
Kevin Foster

There is no effort;
no toil, no steam,
can outdo the sun,
the might of a beam.

Tuesday, April 27, 2010

The Plight of Yvonne and Mercury

Dolls – 95
Sarah Van Name

My seven-year-old sister is obsessed with natural disasters. One three-hour Discovery special on hurricanes, tsunamis, forest fires, earthquakes, and tornados on a muggy August afternoon, and it was done.

Her dolls, Yvonne and Mercury, are her favorite victims. While other girls play doctor or schoolteacher, my little sister pretends she is tectonic plates and shifts her weight in the bath. In the fall, piles of leaves become mountains, and she throws herself upon them until they collapse into rockslides. And her dolls are always there, drowning, falling, exalting in the neverending thrill of small-scale terror.

This Tornado Loves You - Neko Case

Monday, April 26, 2010

Two Years Time.

Blocks- 189
Stephen N. Dethrage

Just two years ago, our living room was occupied only by a couch and a television. Back then, your side of the bed was occupied by nothing but empty space and pillows. Most notably, your womb was occupied by nothing but distant dreams. You were a smoker, and I was drinking too much. We were cold, cynical people who hated nearly everyone, and we thought that suited us just fine.

As I stand in that same living room and watch my son build a tower of blocks, then smash it to pieces, letting its segments join his other toys on the carpet, those ideas are almost impossible to wrap my head around. How did I ever sleep in that bed without you there? How did I really enjoy a day without tripping over one of Simon's toys? Why did we need bitter thoughts and bitter chemicals to keep us from going mad? I smell you cooking breakfast in the kitchen, and watch our baby crawl on to bigger and better things, and it's beyond me how life before the two of you were mine made any sense at all.

You Are My Joy - The Reindeer Section

Sunday, April 25, 2010

Meeting on Monday (Because of The Things You Told Me, I Felt Free)

Trap - 83 Words
Aaron Dethrage

From: Mr. Donald Hays, Regional Manager <>
To: Mr. Jackson Gardner <>
Date: Mon, Apr 26, 2010 at 12:45 AM
Subject: Meeting on Monday


Sometime around 8:45 tomorrow morning you’ll be told that your boss wants to see you. When you walk in, myself and a bunch of other men with expensive suits and polished smiles will all be waiting to greet you and tell you about your wonderful, new promotion. Now, you know we are friends, so I need you to believe what I’m about to say. Run. Don’t waste your life here like I have. There is no joy to be found.


I Felt Free - Circa Survive

Saturday, April 24, 2010

Bad Luck

Bongos - 480 words
Mary Ann Loo

“Are we playing these?” our new singer asked as she rhythmically tapped on the animal skin of the bongos standing alone in the corner, blatantly ignoring the hand-written sign pasted above it: DO NOT TOUCH.

“Julie, did you not see the sign?” I asked, looking up from tuning my Fender.

She withdrew hastily. “Oh. I just thought it’d be cool to have some bongo sounds in the recording.”

“Yeah, Dan told us not to touch those. Supposedly it’s bad luck or something,” John the bassist said.

Julie’s eyes widened. “Bad luck?” She glanced at the lonely instrument, and turned to me. “Why?”

“It’s like cursed. Like Dan’s owned this place for maybe ten years now, and it’s always been there,” I replied. “Like it’s been moved a couple times before, but the next day it’s always back in that same spot.”


“Yeah, and something like the previous dude tried to get rid of it – gave it to goodwill or something – and the next day it was back,” John said, slapping his strings to check his headphone sound levels.

“It’s said that everyone who’s played on it before, like something bad happened to them after that,” I added, standing up with the Fender slung over my shoulder. “Not like Dan personally knows anyone who died from playing it. But he’s really superstitious, so we kinda just went along with it.”

Julie swallowed, her voice quivered as she asked, “So none of you have ever touched it?”

John and I exchanged looks with each other, and with the drummer, Jack. Jack sighed and nodded, and continued fiddling with the drum set.

“What is it?” Julie asked, now moving to where I was, as far from the mysterious bongos as possible.
John said, “Jack kinda touched it once.”


“It was probably just coincidence,” I said quickly. “I mean, we were playing a show, and both his sticks broke at the same time. Like, what are the odds, you know?”

“Yeah, and for some reason he couldn’t find his entire bag of sticks, it disappeared into thin air or something,” John added. “But we just assumed someone stole them.”

A tense silence ensued, as Julie looked from John to me to Jack to me again. She laughed nervously. “You’re just messing with me. Right?”

“You guys ready?” Dan’s voice resounded in my headphone; he was back from his smoke break.


“I keep getting her voice mail,” I said, flipping my cell shut.

John shrugged. “We can just track ourselves or something first.”

“Yeah, but this isn’t like her. Like, she’s not a copout.”

Just as I said those words, my cell buzzed urgently, Julie’s number displayed on its screen.

“Julie, where are you?”

“Hello.” An unfamiliar guy’s voice. “Are you Grant?”


He sighed. “I’m really sorry, but the girl who owned this cell… she was just run over by a bus.”

Only Superstition - Coldplay

Friday, April 23, 2010

Pirates of the City Streets

Mineral – 179 words
Ben Azevedo

The rain swept all the minerals, dirt, and sediment into the overflowing street drain. It picked up bags and paper as the torrent increased. The drain could not handle the volume of aquatic refuse the storm offered, so it simply proceeded to siphon as much water out of the mixture as it could.

I observed all of this through my open window. I could have closed the window, as I was now certifiably damp from the wind blown moisture, but I preferred the more personal connection with the storm that could not be gleaned through the double pane of glass. I considered all the various types of minerals contained in rainwater, and pictured myself sifting for gold in the gutter of a Tennessee street. Then I saw the boat.

It was small, possibly a schooner, certainly not a steamboat. The tiny vessel seemed to be caught in the maelstrom the drain had created. Its crew, a small and drenched child in possession of the string that kept the boat from imminent demise, was thoroughly engaged in saving the ship.

Tiny Vessels - Death Cab for Cutie

Thursday, April 22, 2010

The Porch

Wicker - 175 words

Lindsey Thompson

She always rocked back and forth in the summertime, glass of tea in hand and book in her lap, unless one of her many dogs jealously nuzzled it out of the way of their love. The squeaking would resound down the hall through the screen door and into my study, traced around the edges by a scent of heat and the sound of wind chimes. Dog nails would tap on the wooden porch as she tiptoed barefoot into the house to put away the glass without waking me. I would wait in bed until I heard the screen door shut again, the dogs settling at her feet, safely out of range of the pinching rails that roll forward and back.

I would get out of bed, feeling the cold of the fan and conditioned air meeting my face and my feet. I would close the distance that separated us, hear the wicker creak as she turned to greet me. I’d gently kiss her forehead. She smelled of cut, wet clover and tasted like the sun.

Burns Like Summer Sun - James Morrison

Wednesday, April 21, 2010


Foam - 326 words
Kevin Foster

His father had been ill since before their long engagement began and he had been hospitalized in the interim between the ceremony and the day they left down the coast. She had wanted to stay, to be with her husband's father, a man she had only met a handful of times, to show her husband how devoted she would be, but he insisted that they leave. The call had come on the second day; his mother's voice was broken, but he did not react except to pull over onto a gravel rest area, stand for a moment, and walk toward the water. She followed him.

Seated on the stone ridge about seventy feet from him and ten feet further from edge of the sea, she gazed at his back; his body cut a strong, black shape into the fading light of the day, and he stood motionless. She could not see but his face was stolid and his eyes were dry. She began to cry. She had hoped that any space between them would disappear as they peeled away but kept their fingers grazing together and it would never return, immediately and magically erased, the spaces that she did not have an equivalent of and therefore did not understand, that all of the unknowns and the blackness would be illuminated and he would be bare before her, emotional privacy abolished and infinite intimacy established, but this is not what happened. The sun burned around him and the sea left its disappearing foam rhythmically at his feet, its tiny bubbles popping as the swelling masses seeped invisibly into the sand. She was aware she knew very little. There would always be pieces of him that no time or trust would not allow her. It was not time and it was not trust. It would be an hour before he returned to her and they would drive further down the coast and they would not speak of it.

Tuesday, April 20, 2010


182 words
Sarah Van Name

i felt your joy in the songs i taught you to sing and in your condemnation-turned-acceptance of thong underwear, i saw it in pictures (first appearance of snow), you rushed through all of us in two weeks like a strong August storm, you had a life outside of this, you shrank away in the distance until i no longer recognized your voice on the phone, i still have the voicemails and there i hear the joy skimming over the sorrow, a pale stone jumping over the surface of the deep water

i can no longer hold you in the arms of summer: your smirk from my wall, the Hawaii glass, you are psychoanalytically something more to me than a skinny little girl drenched in light – psychologically, you represent the mosquito nights and the crushes – your breath, i didn’t know you at all when you were almost seventeen and decided, i only knew you at thirteen, a skinny little girl –

“I still write about her,” my friend said to me as we walked in the dusk. “Still.”

“I know,” I said. “Me too.”

Bloodbuzz Ohio - The National

Monday, April 19, 2010

The one that got away.

Castaway- 478
Stephen N. Dethrage

The arthritic fingers, sightless eyes, and wrinkled skin of the man on the edge of the pier tell passersby that he is not the young man he once was, but this does not bother him. He is here for the fishing, not the passerbys. He revels in each cast, each careful selection of his most precious lures. Although vision left him more than a decade ago, the smells and sounds of the lake are more than enough to keep him smiling soft and humming low, casting out and reeling in.

Every time he comes back to this place, he can't resist letting the memories of youth caress him like some sadistic angel or devil who teases and tempts, but dances away from his grasp each time he gives in and reaches out, hoping to take hold and be young again.

Today, he remembers love-- young love, and true love, and the sort of utopian love that Shakespeare and Lennon wrote about. He recalls his well rehearsed lines and practiced charms, not too much unlike the lures in his tacklebox and on his line, and how, always a fisherman, he tossed them to any girl who would bite. The hardest part of it all was dealing with the girls that were fun to court and woo and flirt with, but simply weren't the trophies that he could be satisfied making a life with. It wasn't anything personal, he merely thought like a fisherman, and tossed back the girls who didn't quite make the cut.

And then there was Rebecca. On the pier, his smile fades, and his humming ceases, and he remembers her more clearly than any other part of his long and storied past.

She was, in a word, flawless, and by some means or another, he charmed her, and they married, and for a while, they had the enviable sort of life and love that happens in the movies and in the books, but almost never translates into reality.

And then, one day, his vision was gone. The doctors called it a rare case of Amaurosis fugax, and explained that an artery had clogged just enough to decrease blood supply to his eyes, and the result was a total blindness that occured without warning, and could not be reversed. And suddenly, to Rebecca, he was a burden. She left him, like he left so many girls in his youth, because, for once, he was the one that warranted being tossed back.

He feels a hit at his lure, and knows he needs to jerk the rod and set his hooks in deep, and bring the fish onto the pier and snap out of his reverie, but he does not move, and a tear streaks down his cheeks, and in the murky waters of the lake in front of him, the fish darts away.

Singing Softly To Me - Kings of Convenience

Sunday, April 18, 2010

Letters. (Keep Your Eyes Ahead)

Propel - 359 Words
by Aaron Dethrage

“At times, our strengths propel us so far forward,
that we can no longer endure our weaknesses
and perish from them.”

Friedrich Nietzsche

April 18, 2010

Dear Mom,

My doctor has recommended that I start writing you letters daily. He says it’s therapeutic and is certain that it will help me come to grips with reality, with the fact that you’re gone. But since you won’t receive them and he doesn’t even want to read them, this just seems like psycho-babble bullshit to me.

I mean, I am perfectly aware that you are dead. I sustained the weight of your coffin atop my right shoulder on the long walk from the front of the church to the idling, black hearse in the parking lot and then again from the car to the grave. My shoulder was sore for the next two days, but I refused to take any pain relievers because those tense muscles were all that I had left of you.

Why am I telling you this...

Your Son.

April 26, 2010

Dear Mom,

The shrink interpreted my writing assignment negligence this past week as further proof that this is what I need to be doing.

I just don’t get it. Everyone seems to think that this is affecting me so much more than I believe it to be. It has already been a few months, and I’ve had constant, strict deadlines with my publishers. The world doesn’t stop for grieving, and you wouldn’t have wanted me to allow that anyway. “Keep your eyes ahead,” you always said.

I trust that you’re fine and that you’d want my life to keep propelling forward. These thoughts give me strength.

Your Son.

May 26, 2010

Dear Mom,

I’m sorry if you’ve missed these. After two uncooperative weeks, my doctor just dropped the idea. I stopped going shortly after I last wrote to you. This week has been... hard, but I just keep repeating, “keep your eyes ahead,” and believe that everything will eventually sort out...

I love you.

Your Son.

June 29, 2010


I’m coming.

Please leave a light on; I’ve imagined the journey to be dark.


Saturday, April 17, 2010

You just can't be me.

Mary Ann Loo
Reflection - 32 words

Hello vacant eyes;
So familiar, yet you’re not
What you used to be.

Hello joyless face,
Once filled with eager wonder.
You just can’t be me.

What did you expect to see?

Silence - Jars of Clay

Friday, April 16, 2010

Thursday, April 15, 2010

The Collector

Coaster - 144 words

Lindsey Thompson

My mother is a collector, which is her fancy word for “hoarder.” The world would halt on its axis, violently hurdling us into space, if she ever began to throw away things that she “might need in the future and shouldn’t have to buy.” Recently, this collection has crept into the world of coasters. Strewn about the house, she has approximately 17 different coasters, no 2 of which are identical, or even from the same store. With some bearing Biblical knowledge and others exalting in the British palace, the coasters continue to be fruitful and multiply as my mother commemorates exotic vacations with a piece of plastic. We all heave a collective sigh at her exuberant "collecting."

My father passed his coaster tastes down to me. Simple, elegant, glass cradles for a brandy or scotch glass, and always in tidy even numbers.

Candy's Room - Bruce Springsteen

Wednesday, April 14, 2010

unheld things

Subway – 204 words
Kevin Foster

There were now three kids on the subway; a boy and girl had just climbed through the portal after the train sputtered to a stop at the 63rd station, shuffling lazily away with the somberness of a fading buzz as the train sped off again. The remaining three, a second couple and another boy, were alone in the car; they sat cooped in their usual corner anyway. They were worn out but kinetic, their appetites sated but growling still; lightning resting in a subway car. They wait for the second-to-last stop on their colored line. When the train stopped thirteen blocks further south, they would head two blocks east toward the lake and separate, the couple to the north and final boy to the south, returning to their respective homes. They were afraid as they traveled home, but not because they wouldn't make it, nor would they be hurt by what they found there. They feared the Wentworth Street split-up, inevitable and lonesome, but not because their being together provided safety. They feared the future, but not for the things that it held. They feared for the things that would disappear and the things that were never there at all, imagined in dumb glory.

Untitled 4 - Sigur Ros

Tuesday, April 13, 2010


Deer - 450 words
Sarah Van Name

“I’m not going to hook up with anyone,” he told me as he pulled into the parking space and turned off the engine.

“I mean. I would hope not,” I replied, getting out. “It’s been like three weeks since she broke up with you. You’re supposed to still be a wreck.”

“I am skilled in the art of acting,” he said without looking at me as we walked towards the door. “I’m just saying you shouldn’t worry.”

The guy made the requisite x’s on our under-21 hands and we drifted in along the back wall. I bounced on my heels; I hadn’t been to this club in a while and I had missed it. But standing around waiting for a band when even the filler music is too loud…well, it isn’t that exciting in the end, even if the band is your favorite band and you have a good friend, a good heartbroken friend, beside you, because there’s still the forty-year-old on his second beer standing in the corner and there’s still the heat and the knowledge that you need to save your ears for later.

So I told my friend I had to get some air and I went out to the smoking patio. There was no one out there, but the smell of smoke still clung to the air like perfume. I kind of like that bitter aftertaste hanging in the atmosphere. I leaned against the wall, in the smoke and the cool of the summer night.

Behind the chain-link, there were some trees, and I saw a deer there suddenly, as if it had just coalesced from the darkness. It was small, as graceful and soft as ribbon, and alone. It lowered its head to sniff something on the ground; stepped delicately onto the concrete; hesitated by the side of the road; walked to the middle to nibble at a small piece of grass.

Of course I saw what was going to happen, what must happen. I heard the car coming, the too-loud rap music, saw the headlights rise like a rapid dawn and the baby poke up its head. Closer and closer, and –

– the truck swerved, I heard a curse, its tire hit the dirt on the other side but it continued on its way, the deer crossed over to the other side. I breathed. I heard drums, guitar, an appreciative roar, and a familiar verse.

When I went inside I saw him backed up against the wall like a scared animal while a hipster girl, small and cute with beautiful breasts, shouted something in his ear to make herself heard. He looked at the door, at not me but escape. I went to save him.

Party Pit - The Hold Steady

Monday, April 12, 2010

Reading the Story without the Words.

Curls: 89 words
Stephen N. Dethrage

The pages of my journal have turned up and curled at the edges. They are not ancient, but they grow older. Some are misshapen, wrinkled by falling tears, others nearly torn by the pen scribbling words of rage or jealousy. The sudden shift in shade from off-white to an nicotene yellow reveal that at some point, I picked up smoking. These sheets of paper, so much more than the words scribbled on them in dark black ink, tell my true story more masterfully than my own writing ever could.

Little Lion Man - Mumford and Sons

Sunday, April 11, 2010

No Surprise

Wig - 144 Words
Aaron Dethrage

My grandmother wears a wig to hide her age from the world, and she is incredibly successful in her efforts. In fact, I can hardly remember noticing any significant shifts in her appearance throughout my entire twenty-one years of life. She may have sprouted a new wrinkle or two, and her voice may not sing quite as well as it once did; but every time I see her, there are never any real surprises. I like to pretend that her house is a safe haven from the otherwise inescapable wiles of Change. I’ve seen my sister become a woman, and I’ve seen good friends destroy their lives. I’ve seen old lovers go find husbands, and I’ve seen the cracks that span my mind. But joyous and radiant, adorned with her tightly-woven wig, my grandmother waits in that house–eternal, unchanging and wise.

Grandchildren - Mia Riddle

Saturday, April 10, 2010

untitled 2

Mary Ann Loo
Tape - 441 words

“Is it rolling?”

“Yeah. Just… whenever you’re ready,” I say, stepping back from the camera perched on its tripod five feet above the parquet floor in Kristina’s room, at the foot of her twin-sized bed. Kristina slowly pushes herself up, leaning heavily against the pillows behind her. “I’ll be right outside, just yell when you’re done.” I immediately remember how it pains her to speak these recent weeks, and add, “Or um… text… or something…”

“It’s alright, Geoff,” she says, smiling. I nod, and step into the dark hallway, closing the door behind me. There’s a wooden folding chair just outside, but I somehow find the carpet more reassuring, and sit on it with my back against the door. I hear Kristina’s voice, muffled through the wood and the Lifehouse poster on the other side; I can’t make out her words, neither do I try. It’s what she calls her informal will, and she made me promise to only listen to it after she’s gone.

Gone. I can’t wrap my mind around it. My neighbor and best friend since we were ten – someone I’ve walked with to and from school almost everyday, someone I’ve seen grow out of baggy jeans and oversized tees to dresses and makeup, someone I’ve comforted every time her heart gets broken by jerks who never treasured what they had. As far back as I can remember, my life always has Kristina, and the thought of losing her simply won’t sink in. Our senior year in high school is almost over, but Harvard doesn’t yet know that one of its potential students may never make it there. Neither will it care.

I can’t imagine life without Kristina. Despite her popularity in school, she sits with my Science Club pals and me in the lunch cafeteria twice a week. She’d choose to walk home with me even when the jocks offered her rides. She’s beautiful with her long dark wavy locks that framed her rosy cheeks and green eyes, and she’s still beautiful now, even with her porcelain skin and her head under a blue scarf. I remember the first time I saw her like it was yesterday, in pigtails and overalls, hopping out of her dad’s car when they pulled up to the empty house next-door – joyful, eager, excited Kristina. And she always is. And I’ve always loved her in silence.

I want so much to tell her, but what will it matter now? Nothing will change, nothing will save her. I wish everyday that I’m sick instead of her, so I’ll have a reason to make a tape, to tell her the truth after I’m gone.

Cut - Plumb

Friday, April 9, 2010

Lost in the Jungle

Paperback - 347 words
Ben Azevedo

I heaved a sigh as I twirled the dial on the shiny combination lock. My dirty fingers smudged the smooth metal as I scoured my memory for the digits that would grant me access to the small locker in the break room. The code given, the lock gave way with a healthy spring, and I retrieved the dusty, torn paperback from within.

I took another deep breath and let it spill from my lungs as I plopped into a vacant chair around the central table. I didn’t even hear the television advertising the latest popular diet as I opened the old book. I was more careful now to keep my dirt- and dust-stained fingers from the yellowing pages. I had gotten it used, and my rough transportation of it only served to add to its numerous tears and smudges. The binding was still good, though, and it opened easily to the page where I had left off. Eagerly, I began to read…

…and began to circle slowly. Martin watched them carefully from the safety of his fire. The hyenas stared back, their eyes reflecting the jumping flames. The sun had only set an hour ago and already they were here. Martin knew his fire wouldn’t last all night without more wood. He eyed the western horizon carefully. He had seen a stand of trees not far from his fire before the sun set that would serve as better shelter and provide firewood. The dust storm this morning had slowed him, though, forcing him to make his pathetic camp out in the open. He had hoped to pass the night without incident.

One of the hyenas let out a short bark, drawing his attention back to the matter at hand. Martin knew the creatures were too frightened to attack while he had the advantage of fire. He gathered his meager supplies together and strapped a tiny bundle of sticks over his back. Then he carefully selected the biggest stick in the fire and…

A buzzer sounded overhead. My break was over. I returned the paperback to my locker.

Down Under - Men At Work

Thursday, April 8, 2010

Deep Magic

Holy - 329 Words

Lindsey Thompson

You see her sitting gracefully upon a proper-posture chair, holding her gift like her breath underwater. She is without eminence, surrounded by others who seem to play as well as she. Her left hand twitches as she glances over the pages before her, then all is silent as she stands to give the tuning pitch. You are only here to relieve the in-house engineer during dress rehearsal; you notice but care not that the proper etiquette of orchestral concerts has been breached. The strides of the conductor conquer the stage, and you prepare to do your job.

The rehearsal goes without incident. Her face glows no more or less than her section-mates, she appears to miss no notes more than her neighbors, and her participation in the orchestra makes no noticeable mark. She blends, just as she should.

As you walk the halls, winding down the session and finishing up your requirements, you hear a stringed melody, as though pulled from the lips in one smooth sweep. Each legato swell, each note kissed with rubato grace, each sigh of heavenly glissandos seduces your ear and pulls your body around the corner.

There, she moves with her well-loved violin, radiating through her smile and her very being, swaying with bare feet as she blesses the air with her crafted song. You watch her breathe with each phrase, sigh with each sweep of the bow, and you listen to her existence poured out before you. This, you think, is what brought Lazarus back from the grave; this turned the hearts of Ninevah; this created the sky and sea, pulled the light from out of the dark. Captivated, you stand on holy ground.

Your consciousness is flooded with horns chasing her melody by thirds, with cellos rumbling in sultry counterpoint, with flutes flying in the skies above her deep magic. You feel a symphony for her pulse through each limb and torrent in each heartbeat, all keeping time with her steps.

Mirrorball - Peter Gabriel


Fragment - 109 Words
Kevin Foster

Perched on lawn chairs on his back porch, they waited for it to come. There was classical music gliding through the window – they opened the window to coax the sound out of the interior of the house – and they were sitting on the back porch, good friends, waiting for it to come. They had turned the lights off in preparation for it to come and to avoid offending the neighbors, as they sat, still, and waited for it to come. Out of a cigarette box, broken up, packed in a glass animal, they waited for it to come. They drank wine from bottles and waited. They waited.

Tuesday, April 6, 2010

Southern hospitality

Crow - 340 words
Sarah Van Name

She wasn’t deep South, for sure, but she was Southern. Her hair was short but styled, an impeccable dye job, and the crows feet starting to complicate the skin around her eyes were gracefully smoothed out. I could see her sending her kids to a private school, bringing apple bars for snack-time every Wednesday, chatting with the other moms, drinking sweet tea when they went out to brunch with the PTA…and then her kids got to college and she got a job on the board of directors, through a combination of wit and money and well-placed compliments.

But as much as I like drawing characters in my head, I didn’t care so much why she was on the plane except insofar as she gave me something to do with the nervous energy that was shooting spectacles of light through my every tendon.

“I’m going to visit my boyfriend in Nashville,” I told her with a true smile at the beginning of the flight, and after I gave her the requisite information – the long-distance, the age difference – I think somehow through the red reading glasses and the tan tweed of her jacket, she understood.

If she had been deep South, I would have been able to see the Spanish moss hanging along the ambling path of her voice. I might have seen a slow-moving river or the unimpeachable heat of August in the way she turned the pages of her mystery novel. Instead her voice was a little deep, soft but clipped like a lock of hair falling to the floor.

I could have exchanged greetings with her on the sidewalk of my high school as she carried back the remains of her potato salad from Teacher Appreciation Day, on the way to a book club meeting. Those women were always sweet to me, God knows why. So when the plane settled its roar and the lights flickered on, I was grateful but barely surprised when she let me out first, saying, “Go on, honey, you’ve got someone waitin’ for you.”

Strictly Game - Harlem Shakes


Cookie- 84 words
Stephen N. Dethrage

They are warm and gooey. They smell literally irresistible. They are not for you. Someone died, you think, and the cookies are comfort food, but that only makes things better. When you steal one, it is not for the mouth-watering taste or the perfect soft texture. It is for nothing other than the rush, the incomparable thrill you'll get when your mother asks if you took it, or know who did, and you look her in the eyes and lie. You know nothing sweeter.

Rise and Shine - Guster

Sorry for the late post. I wrote this yesterday, but in the insanity of taking an Astronomy test in the morning and getting prepared for a Greek and Roman Mythology test this morning at eight, I apparently forgot to post. As students, I imagine you understand.

Sunday, April 4, 2010

Despite Our Hazardous Floors and These Late-Night Chores, My Love Always Remains

Cranky - 300 Words
Aaron Dethrage

It was 3:00 AM when she awoke, and while I don’t really feel like “cranky” or “testy” fully summarize the complexity of her emotions, they are the best that I’ve got. I guess I can understand why; at her age, most people have generally figured out–unalterably, mind you–what they do or don’t like.

For instance, she and I have two numbers in mind for our nighttime temperature preference, and they typically vary by ten or fifteen digits. So, while the house incubated at an unbearable 76 degrees on this pre-dawn, Alabama-in-July morning, I’m certain she was still chilly.

I stirred in my bed, pretending that I could ignore her and just return to my precious and fleeting sleep, but eventually I just conceded and arose–bleary-eyed and humorously off balance–preparing for the dangerous, late-night trek to the chamber of her incessant calling.

You see–even though she’d been living here for over a year now–her stuff was still far from settled, and in the dark of the night, our carpeted hallway became a minefield for potential stubbed-toes and rolled ankles.

I reached her door miraculously safe and let myself in unannounced, but she knew I would come if she kept at it, so I doubt she was alarmed. My exceedingly cautious journey had re-instilled some vitality into my murky mind, so I greeted her with a playful, “Cranky old gal, aren’t you?”

There, looking back at me with big, wonder-filled eyes that mirrored my own, was a beautiful, eighteen-month-old Chloe. Smiling, I shook my head and sighed as a victorious grin crept across her perfect, chubby cheeks. Side-by-side, we slept with perfectly-synced heartbeats and dreamed ambitious dreams, composing our ideal future together.

Father and Daughter - Paul Simon

***To ease the mind of my mother, I'll go ahead and publicly state that this is definitely fiction, haha. I have had the pleasure of seeing snapshots of a friend's life as she raised her daughter, Chloe, and I thought I'd write a piece of prose from my observations of the joy I see constantly in their relationship.***

Saturday, April 3, 2010


Fashion - 102 words
Mary Ann Loo

I’ve never been a follower of fashion trends, and despite being an artist of sorts and appreciating most art forms, fashion is the one thing I simply can’t quite grasp. Sure I enjoy the drama and eyeing the pretty stuff and people on Project Runway and Top Model, but to be completely honest, I haven’t got the slightest clue why people would starve themselves (at least in Singapore they do) in order to afford the latest Louis Vutton and Chanel, why Marc Jacobs is a household name, and why some women cannot live without high-heeled shoes.
I’ll just stick with my Chucks.

She's In Fashion - Suede

Friday, April 2, 2010

Please Don't Sleep and Drive

Condition - 457 words
Ben Azevedo

I wasn’t in any sort of condition to drive, and neither was the car. A handful of hours of sleep, followed by heavy physical labor, several hours of school, and now the open road. And the car? I glanced up at the oil sticker on the windshield: 165,458 was the next oil change, and she was right up to 165,400 with a little over 500 miles to drive today. Not good. She was a ’97, over ten years old now. I was fairly sure that half of what kept her running was my love for her.

I looked back down at the road as I passed a blue sedan. It was going to be a long drive. I hadn’t had enough time during the week to make a great mix to listen to, so I was stuck with what I had. Which wasn’t bad, of course. It just helps when you don’t know what song is coming next. Currently it was on an old playlist full of high-energy rock for the first few hours of the trip. I’ve always felt its better to keep the adrenaline rush of being on the road for as long as possible. Of course as a backup I had a box of 500 mg caffeine pills in the glove compartment.

At least the weather conditions were nice. I rolled down my windows and cranked the stereo until all I could hear was wind in my ears and the distorted sound of my music blasting through the old car’s speakers. It occurred to me that wind was very loud at 80 miles per hour. Interstate 40 never actually allows you to drive at 80 miles per hour, but no one ever seems to mind, and it gets me there much faster, so I do. Of course, I never tell my mom. She said I could only drive 80 on the condition that I never tell her, because if she doesn’t know she won’t be angry about it.

I settled into a new position in the chair and set my cruise control. The best way to deal with a trip like this is to break it up into chunks. The first part is the hardest. After about five hours of driving, the rest of it just feels the same. But for the first five hours, you haven’t relaxed into the rhythm yet. Once you get there, you’re pretty much conditioned for the ride and it’s not so bad.

The adrenaline playlist ended, so I rolled up the windows and cued up some new music. As I headed steadily towards the distant mountains, I watched the sun setting behind me. I would much rather have made the trip through those mountains during the day.

Wagon Wheel - Old Crow Medicine Show

Thursday, April 1, 2010


Humor - 167 words

Lindsey Thompson

They strolled around the back of the high school until they found the most grandfather-like oak tree, complete with carpet of clover, and sat beneath its protecting arms. The wind picked up and showered them with white petals from newly blossoming trees. The warmest day of the year so far, they lounged in the cool patches and stared upwards through the branches and leaves into the clear blue sky, noiseless in afternoon relaxation. While normal after school interactions were filled with intellectual conversation and snide stabs at one another, this day resonated with silence as they shared in wordless communion for the welcoming of spring.

With an awkward smile he leaned in and said, “I suddenly want to kiss you,” and chuckled with surprise.

“Then do it,” she replied, not a trace of humor. She laid a simple kiss on his cheek and said, “See? Not that hard.” With defiance, her gaze locked with his, prodding him to action.

She awoke from dreaming, in the hospital again.

Sweet Disposition - Temper Trap