Unchilled

“Childhood’s a collection of lies.”

“Really?” I laughed into the phone, and my spine spasmed. “Where’s the evidence?”

“In memories suggesting I used to wish for snowstorms”, she said.

“I have a copy of your ‘Come Snowstorm Come’ spell, glued to the front page of my ‘Warrioresses Survive Together’ journal, which corroborates your recollection.”

“I forgot about that.” She laughed and then cussed.

“Pain’s getting worse?”

“Nah, just the cold carving sour nothings inside my bones.”

“Let’s take the chisel and eye-gouge the bastard.”

“Together”, she said.

“Always”, I said, and the warmth of our combined laughter unchilled the world.
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for Robin

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the wee notes…

– Linked to Friday Fictioneers. Visit Rochelle Wisoff-Fields’ blog, to join the creative fun. Follow this LINK, to read what other writers have brewed out of the photo prompt.
– Will also link to Prompt Nights ~ Come chase oh fleeting thoughts of the moment. Sanaa invited us to celebrate World Thinking Day (February 22nd), by catching up with a friend, and writing a poem (or fiction piece) based on the conversation with them.

photo by Sarah Potter

Enjoys Intimidating Random Excuses for Human Beings

I shared this picture, and asked friends (from Facebook and Instagram), “What can you tell about the owner of this bedside table?” The responses show that many of my friends are very perceptive and, perhaps, slightly insane. They suggested the owner is neat, artistic, eclectic, spends a lot of time in bed, likes fishing, is a bohemian sci-fi gel pen collector, has a dark side, likes writing, loves Gothic things, has dry skin, values ordinary things, reads a lot… One response made me smile in a completely non-insane manner: a friend said the owner of the bedside table is “someone who likes to control and manipulate—in a good way.”

I smiled because I enjoy knowing that the way I treat my things tell a story that match my inside. I am, indeed, controlling… and manipulative… in a good way. I never try to control other people (since that’s unethical and tends to suck the energy out of everyone involved). But I use every skill and charm I possess to make sure that I can control my reactions to the way people behave towards me. It’s a powerful defense mechanism, my Wicked Luvs. The same is true about my kind of manipulation. I use that particular skill to crush the resolve of anyone who is silly enough to think they can shame me.

You are probably asking, “Where are you going with this, dearest?” Well, about two weeks ago, while a dear friend visited New York City (more on that soon), I wore my purse after not having done so for months. It was a final experiment. And it failed. My left side began to throb less than an hour into the trip, and my right shoulder was useless for days. Conclusion: must continue getting cozy with my wheeled bag and buy a hip purse (or thirteen).

I have yet to buy a hip purse. So, yesterday, when I got ready for a long walk, I packed my wheeled bag (medications, user-friendly toilet paper, water, a bit of food…). Then I realized that the damn thing was too big for comfort. I decided to rig my regular purse into a, yes, hip purse. I tightened the shoulder strap around my hips, but the strap was too long. I fed a sash through the loops that connect the purse to the strap, and secured the whole thing around my waist. I was ready… and quite proud of my crafty rig.

Halfway through my walk, I stopped at an office supplies store—a girl always needs more red pens. While I waited in line, I heard chuckles behind me. I thought nothing of it. Then a woman said, “Crazy hippies.” I was smiling inside. Crazy hippies are very cool. Then another voice, one that has never heard of the benefits of whispering, said, “If I ever go outside looking that stupid, hit me.” I turned around. And I’m not quite sure what made me do it. But… staring at the woman who had just spoken, I widened my eyes, and let my smile stretch until it became a mad grin that showed every single one of my teeth.

The woman backed into a display of notepads, knocking the whole thing to the floor. I laughed… And, perhaps, took the tiniest of jumps in her general direction. The gesture inspired her to move away from me and my teeth and walk quickly out of the store. I stopped laughing. But my grin was still mightily toothy when her friend looked back.

I walked home with an insane grin on my face, thinking, I should definitely add “Enjoys intimidating random excuses for human beings—in a good way” to my résumé. Now, if I could only figure out how to whip out the mad grin on command.

…my awesome rig…
I liked the effect of the flash, so I left it on.
Also, I took the photo right after I got back from my walk,
so… I had to protect you from mad-grin residue.
*mad cackles-infused giggles*

The Skull of the Moon

“The truth has teeth.” ~  Jodi Picoult

“A writer is like a tuning fork: We respond when we’re struck by something… If we’re lucky we’ll transmit a strong pure note, one that isn’t ours, but which passes through us. If we’re lucky, it will be a note that reverberates and expands, one that other people will hear and understand.” ~  Roxana Robinson

“The Skull of the Moon”

after defleshing
the guise that promised the sky,
they tasted the lie—
his sun is fueled by screams
and the flamed skull of the moon

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the wee notes…
– Thoughts of the moon tend to leave a blissful look on my face. So, when Kerry invited us to write a short poem using the phrase “And the Moon and the Stars and the World” as frame of reference, I was convinced that I would craft something, well… blissful. But… I had just read Jodi Picoult’s Small Great Things—a novel where hatred and lies destroy the life of people. Things improve after masks and self-blinders are bitten off by the truth and by willingness to give people a chance (or three) to proof their humanity. This wee poem is a dance between the moon and Picoult’s and Robinson’s quotes.
– Linked to the Imaginary Garden with Real Toads (And the Moon ~ Micro Poetry), and to my Diversity Reading List for 2017.

The full moon, by Judy Stearns (and a shaky handheld camera).

In Battle Ink

Margaret invited us to explore “Immigrant Portraits”. She said, “If you are blessed with a family member’s history of an immigration journey”, write about it. So… I poetized a glimpse into the immigration journey of someone really, really, really close to me.

“In Battle Ink”

Before I met her, I had dreams
that could be seen, tasted, touched
and made true by want and by work…

I dreamed of a home with a phone
and of books of my own;

not just any books, but the best
titles—stories birthed by free minds
that journey out of this world,
tales of lives written in battle ink
that rejects all irrational nos.

Then we met, through the strangeness
of May snow in New York City…

Her torch banished shadows I thought
eternal. She showed me books,
a home and a phone are not dreams,
but necessities. She taught me how to see
through the eyes of a book—the best,
the wisest, the most loyal friend
any thinking girl can have.

After I got to know her, I birthed ideas
that can’t be killed, stolen or bought…
thoughts that are bigger than any dream

ever was.

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the wee notes…
– I migrated from the Dominican Republic to the United States a couple of decades ago. It was early May. My father had told my brother and me, “In May, the weather will be nice enough for shorts.” So, of course, we wore shorts. It snowed. The car broke down just minutes after we left La Guardia Airport. I was freezing, but grinning the grin of a delighted, bookish lunatic whose father had just told her, “You don’t need to spend the whole day in the library, if you don’t want to. Here, they let you take books home.” I will always remember the joy that warmed my heart that wintry spring day. The thought that so many children could be denied that gift, that joy, that warmth… breaks my heart.
– Linked to the Imaginary Garden with Real Toads (Artistic Interpretations ~ Immigrant Portraits). Will also link to Prompt Nights (Through the Eyes of My Friend) on Friday.

photo by the intelligent, talented, good-looking (and extremely modest), Rommy Driks