Trifextra Week 103: Of Heroes Hirsute

Trifecta Tricycle ImageI’m not sure what you’re working on currently, but I’m treading in the realms of realism again these days.

This week’s Trifextra 33-word flash-fiction challenge freights you to the end of the line with this one: “That wasn’t what I meant.”

Being the linguistics-backgrounded word-nerd that I am, I had scads of fabness deciding where to put the accent in the terminal sentence: that, wasn’t, I, or meant. And working backward to form the oyster around the hoped-for pearl. (Hey, can a story be a back formation)?

In any case, I hope I give you an unusual prism to ponder.

*****

Of Heroes Hirsute

Shelter-Misc. 012

Many wonderful companions (like this one, adopted several years ago) await your love at a shelter or rescue group. If you are in the U.S., Canada, or Mexico, please visit Petfinder to learn more about adoption in your area. Photograph ©Leigh Ward-Smith

A sandpaper sensation woke me. Then I tried to whistle for Pep, but my left side wouldn’t move.

Gravel pop-rocked all around. Was I being herded?

My last confused command had been sit-climb-jump.

That wasn’t what I meant.”

Weekly Photo Challenge: Treasure

FAMILY-hiking

FAMILY-pool

Rather than an object (or objects), I conceptualized this weekly photo challenge in terms of the people and things or values I treasure. I thought about posting more “categories” of treasures, but I think this is plenty enough to make me feel rich for now. Enjoy, and have a great weekend!

What I treasure

  1. Family and friends
  2. Art (taken to mean music, literature, dance, architecture, etc.)
  3. Nature

NATURE-fungusART-architecture ART-Will   NATURE-bird NATURE-robinettes

Language Lessons with Vincent Price

I’ve got Michael Jackson on my mind a lot lately; I’m not sure why, and no matter what I do, he just won’t beat it. In any case, you have him to thank or curse for this latest writing effort, a short fiction piece that plays with denotations: namely, the word funk (noun), third definition, meaning “a slump.”

It is loosely based on a prompt for the Trifecta writing challenge, which asks for 33 to 333 words on funk. Mine falls outside the word count, at just past 500 words, and I won’t have time to shave it down before the deadline, but here’s a light, fluffy piece for a change of pace. I hope you enjoy it, especially in a week filled with so much negative world news.

***

FICTION, HUMOR

Language Lessons with Vincent Price

©Leigh Ward-Smith, 2014

Gwen Marsh didn’t know how she’d get past the gargoyle at the gate—weather-bitten Mrs. Brainerd. She of the Oil of Olay stench and inky fingers.

VincentPricefromTheBat-greggorysshocktheatertumblr

This is a publicity still from the movie The Bat (1959), starring Vincent Price. Obtained at GreGGory’s Shock Theater site.

She pressed the brittle-boned paperback closer to truant cleavage as if it were a secret Valentine. Or, in this case, a vile-entine. Gwen could nearly hear Ashley’s breathy words from yesterday: D’ya really think so? I guess we could ask an older kid. Push play again. More hushed giggles.

She glanced down and let the book fall away from her chest: The Totally Bawdy Book of Hickory-Switch Humor, Putrid Put-Downs, and Salacious Slang.

Mom would tan my hide if she knew I had this book, not to mention how I’d gotten it. It was marked for check-out by adults only, in Mrs. Brainerd’s precise hand—and lovingly sealed with twine besides.

I’ve got to go through with this! Gwen pumped herself up to do the unthinkable.

Meanwhile, Mrs. Brainerd was stamping away, going one-by-one through a stack of returns. Every so often, she’d squint and wrinkle her upper lip like Elvis’ evil clone, close the cover harshly, and audibly humph.

Gwen needed some kind of diversion. Pulling the fire alarm lever might work, but then if it didn’t, she’d be in even deeper doo.

Oh, for the love of Michael Jackson! Gwen imagined the pink leather jacket shimmering in the closet she shared with her little sister. It wasn’t the signature look, but it was the best her parents could afford.

“What the . . . funk?” she whispered, letting the forbidden word coil around her conscience. Maybe it doesn’t mean what we think it means. Ashley’s a Southern Baptist, so how would she know? She isn’t even allowed to watch TV, much less buy a cassette. “Devil music,” her parents would probably say.

Gwen strained to remember all the lyrics. I’m sure the spooky old dude in the song says “funk.” She had slipped back to a table near the bathrooms. It was almost closing time. In a few minutes, the plucked vulture would flap her wings, circle through the library, and catch Gwen red-faced.

She dug in her backpack and fished out fingernail clippers. After two clips, she was in, with fingers sprinting to salacious slang.

There it was! But, then, no. This word has no n. She scratched at her black curls, but after a few moments thought to race to the open dictionary at the end of the reference section stacks.

C-D-F. She moved her finger down the page.“Funk . . .” she read the definitions quietly to herself.

Dang, don’t I feel like a fool! Michael, how could you trick me? I am most definitely not thrilled!

Even as Gwen was lamenting her luck, she ceased to be aware of her surroundings. Only the click-click-click brought her back, and she turned to face Mrs. Brainerd . . . and her Fate.

Talk about a funk! I have a feeling I’m gonna be in one long, grounded slump by the time she’s done talking to my mom about this “unfortunate incident.”

THE END

Presidents’ Day: A Short Fiction Story

Hello, friends and family, readers and writers. Here in the States, it is officially Presidents’ Day, a date crafted to celebrate some of our most-respected leaders of the past two-hundred odd years, namely George Washington and Abraham Lincoln, who were both born in February.

Having looked back at a 4th-grade social studies paper of mine, I’ve been thinking about history a bit lately, and how it, too, is subject to the interpreter’s perspective. As an armchair historian (probably not the best terminology; perhaps a history aficionado is better), I pose to you a few questions: can we ever intellectually believe, fully, any account of a past event or leaders, especially those events and personages long-since gone or are we doomed to view it through some lens of subjectivity? Of course, some historical accounts are much more trustworthy than others. What do you think–can one write nonfiction that is wholly noneuphemistic? As fiction-writers, what debt do we owe to historical accuracy? For myself, when I write about a historical person or event, I make every attempt to be accurate and hew to the evidence base, but the rub is knowing when to break the rules and writing conventions. For instance, I picked up Philip K. Dick’s The Man in the High Castle over the weekend; I’ve been reading the opening pages of a lot of novels lately to get a sense of what great literature does to hook the reader by the mouth or other appendage. Obviously this work is an alternate history, a “what-if” writ large. But it is peppered with enough details that we are familiar with, I think, to draw us into an uncharacteristic story that at least bends the rules.

So, this round-about discussion is a way to introduce a short(ish) historical fiction piece that I’ve been writing over the last year-and-a-half or so. I have purposefully kept the president’s identity vague, but those history buffs and professionals among you will likely guess it straightaway, if not from the portrait, then from the text.

Please let me know what you think about this or other writerly issues. And thanks for reading!

_____________________

Mary & Kids Portrait-cropped

This is a Kelly & Sons portrait of the First Family, with the president strategically cropped by me; the full portrait is available at the excellent United States Library of Congress/American Memory Web site. Make sure to visit it often!

FICTION

An Uncommon Solace

©Leigh Ward-Smith, 2014

The wan, gaunt figure who folded out long legs and arched over the scientific paper and magnet–laden desk in my small office seemed little like the portraits or newspaper accounts—or Washington gossip, for that matter.

“Doctor Henry, my wife . . . she sees things at night, in our bedroom. Things which I do not.”

“Is that so, Mr. President. Would you kindly elaborate?”

“She sees our dear lost son, she says, standing at the foot of the bed, smiling sweetly at her. It gives her solace, so I am not much inclined to divest her of that comfort. She does get so vexed, thinking he’ll be all alone in ‘the immensity,’ she calls it, without her motherly hand to guide him.”

“How long has this . . . apparition been manifesting to her?”

“Now that July has almost dawned, it is drawing nigh a year and a half, Henry.”

“And how is it that I might be of service to you and your grieving family with this troubling matter?”

“She has a sitting planned for tomorrow evening, in the White House. Now that we have had the chance to speak and you know my skepticism on the matter, I was hoping that you might offer your expertise for tomorrow. That is, that you might attend as an observer. As my science advisor, you have that right, if I request it.”

“I would be most pleased to be of help, Mr. President. As you’ve related to me, you know something of the observations of Lodge regarding electromagnetic waves. I myself am disinclined to believe in spiritualism.”

“All I am conscious of at this trying time is my poor power to bring succor to Mary for our son. When I was younger, she used to put each infant in a wagon and I would walk with him until it was time to take leave for my office. ‘Pretty business for a lawyer’ one neighbor called to me. What I would not give to have that sweet commerce of him perching upon my knee now, amid this terrible war. Oh, the burden! My dear Will is gone. Gone, gone, gone!”

He choked back emotion, such that I saw his racked chest heaving, before beginning anew. “Would that I had been around more for all the boys.”

This man, our leader, had seen our Republic through the best of times and the worst, and, so, it was all I could do to offer some comfort in my own small fashion.

“Mr. President, you mustn’t blame yourself. You have had three difficult roles—husband and then father to your sons and to the nation. I shall be ever grateful to assist you with this pressing issue.”

***

That woman! The thought of her fears flummoxed the president on the carriage ride back to the White House. Her bull-headedness shall uncouple me yet. His eyes drifted to the teeming streets, where a watermelon-seller hawked his wares, flinging shouts from a rickety cart like waste from a chamber pot into the Potomac.

As he watched the tableau, his mind fell in step with the rhythm of the horses’ hooves meshing with the wheels’ dusty symphony. The sounds floated another raft of memories forward. He didn’t know he’d closed his eyes, but he was already traveling. He reflected back on the bold men in Poughkeepsie yelling, “Where’s the Missus?” They did not yet know her as Mary or as Mrs. President, for it was the president-elect’s inaugural train ride. He made another stop at a now long-gone trainside speech in Ashtabula. To the throngs gathered to set eyes upon him and the entire family, clamoring for Mary to make an appearance, he’d talked about her stubbornness. I’ve always found it very difficult to make her do what she did not want to, he’d said.

He was alone, and so he laughed aloud—an uncustomary joy, of late, in these sticky summer weeks.

Before his mind turned to practical matters, he lamented all that he’d put her and the boys through. The anonymous letters addressed to her, marred with macabre skulls and crossbones and promising her husband’s assassination. Even 7-year-old Tad, dear boy, had received a repulsive black-faced doll, which was meant for his father, at the post office.

Reviewing weather reports with Stanton was on the slate for later that evening, but the president could not turn the force of his intellect away from the idea that a different kind of storm was bruising the clouds above . . . ready to not only burst forth upon the country, but to besiege his own domestic environs. For Mary abhorred storms.

***

After making arrangements for the next evening, I sat down with a stack of papers that young Mr. Thomas had gingerly brought in. I think the boy was petrified of me. “Yes, Doctor Henry,” was the most that usually issued from his lips. His eyes were perpetually downcast as he bowed and slunk back out of my office here in the Castle.

I eagerly surveyed the volunteers’ monthly reports of weather observations, including chartings of daily wind conditions, precipitation, and temperature, as well as their predictions for the first week of July. I paid particular notice to the data from Pennsylvania, in hopes that this information would prove valuable evidence to the president on how to proceed in the future.

***

As I came into the bedroom that late afternoon carrying correspondence to be read and a trail of woes besides, she beckoned me near at once. I thought she meant to scold me, but for a moment the jovial Mary returned. She had me stoop so she could smooth an errant shock of hair, blanched though it was becoming around the ears.

But instead of kissing me in the sensual way only she could, after she’d made her adjustments to my physiognomy, she began in again about her premonitions.

She seldom hesitated, in private, to remind me of her childhood prediction that had come to fruition, or her ominous predictions, delivered oftimes from the land of nodding-off.

“Mary, darling, what would you have me say? I loved . . . him as much as you, even with all your motherly love.” I allowed my voice to break here, in our inner sanctum.

The woman’s blue eyes fell at the mention of the child in the past tense. Does he not still love our handsome lost son?

Recollections crowded into the man’s mind, like the throngs that cheered him along the trestles. “Do you remember the time he and Tad went to the candy-pull? They were covered from head to toe with molasses candy! I’ll never forget it!” The president made a motion to slap his knee convivially, but halted.

The redhead pursed her lips. “You were there that night Willie came back to us. I would have you say that you saw him, too. That you believe. Perhaps Madame Mina can help you to see that–”

“I have expressed my view on that charlatan Madame Mina! Doctor Henry will attend . . . ”

“My husband! This is not about trifling science or one of my sittings! This is a matter of the heart, a concern of the soul. Did you not see our dear Willie? Can you not believe that something, anything is utterly beyond your apprehension in this world?”

I had not seen the child–our beloved missed son!–at our bedpost.

“My dear, your heart is full, and I dare not dispute you. Your love well hallows his memory. That is all I need see. As long as I have my memories—our memories—he shall never perish from this earth. Please trust in what I say, that it is the truth.”

I waited, though the sound of rain as it drilled drops into our window made me rush forth again.

“Now, let us retire a bit early, my dear.” I implored, showing my lawyer’s skill in swaying. “This storm that seems to be at our window may be a portent of the coming evening. Shall we call off the gathering? Madame Mina can wait one more day, can she not?”

I embraced her with all the fervor I still possessed. It had been a tumultuous year so far, and July promised no better.

I could not conceal my joy when she consented to return the embrace, and we stood entwined despite the lightning struggling with the shadows, or perhaps because of it. I imagined not a grotesque chiaroscuro in the nearby garden as the statuary seemed to move in the light-not-light, but a flaring of human effort and knowledge, of the seeping of our countrymen’s blood rendered somehow both beautiful and preternatural, all united in the crucible of strife. I warred with myself, as I often did these days: Were these men, and their wives and women-folk as well, too good for this earth, just as our dear, departed Willie . . . and what right had I to call for such sacrifice?

As the light ricocheted unpredictably around our bedchamber, I remembered how our darling Will, usually given to darting about with his bosom buddy and brother, Tad, had hidden, under Mary’s skirts, perplexed at the teeming crowd that beckoned him from trainside. In that instant, I almost felt I saw a change in the shape of the light next to my desk as it took on a strange, yet familiar, form.

Perhaps there are some merits to Mary’s sublime imaginings after all. What she sees as . . . . spirits, I suppose you might say . . . who can know what to call them, they of the strange land and tongueless head that none but the most attuned can hear?

That she consented to call off the séance and instead stay with me that evening attested that the foundation of our marriage-bond remained steadfast. As for everything else, I would only have to wait, hoping that the earthly unity of cheer and good-will would someday return to our bereaved house and the nation.

THE END

References

I am indebted to the following as I undertook research on this brief piece:

  1. The Smithsonian magazine, on Lincoln’s whistle-stop journey to Washington
  2. Mary Todd Lincoln: A Biography, by Jean Harvey Baker
  3. Mr. Lincoln’s White House (Web site), on notable visitors such as Joseph Henry
  4. Smithsonian Institution Archives, the Joseph Henry Papers
  5. The Abraham Lincoln blog, on the inaugural train trip
  6. Smithsonian Institution Archives, on Joseph Henry’s background in meteorology
  7. Abraham Lincoln Online, on the death of Willie Lincoln

The Language of Love: A Write Tribe Challenge

'Love is Blind' by M. Flores http://mflores5.wordpress.com/

“Love is Blind” by M. Flores  (please show his/her photography some love, because it is stunning).

In honor of Random Acts of Kindness Week, as well as Valentine’s Day and love (about which I’ve waxed in another flash-fiction post this week), Write Tribe is sponsoring a contest about the “language of love.”

Specifically, this quote by Rumi is to flow through the fiction piece of no more than 600 words:

“Listen with the ears of tolerance! See through the eyes of compassion! Speak with the language of love!”

Therefore, I offer my paean, in fiction form, to tolerance and love of all humanity.

Also, please note: all handles and tweeted content* are entirely from my imagination and not meant to correspond to a real person, real quote, real time, or real place (except for Pope Francis’ quote, which is verified, and the Michael Jackson data). Typos are intentional. AND—this story might contain objectionable content that is NSFW or for children.

Let me know what you think; thanks for reading; and be kind to one another!

———–

FICTION

A Bird of Eternity

For Jason: You Left Too Soon

Sadly, it fell to me to sift through the remainder of my friend J.M.’s (@TheJManfromETown*) digital signature. This all reminds me of English Romantic poet John Keats, who died aged 25 years. His epitaph says: ‘Here lies one whose name was writ in water.’

J.M. drifted away from our hometown years ago, but I will miss his many roomed heart, veined in invisible ink though it might be. I offer you this pulsing Polaroid of his online life.

——

Nov. 11: @GinaBeanaQueena: Girl, your rockin’ those jeans. It’s been years since theater! DM me.

Nov. 18: @BigBlondBeastXXX:  You look so frikken HOT! Do they call you B-cubed?

Nov. 21:  @LoveBigStrongMenXXX: Post them all. Aint afraid to beg.

Nov. 25: @TheJManfromETown checked into @HopeSprings Oncology at 1:40 p.m.

Nov. 27: @LoveBigStrongMenXXX: So sorry to hear about problems at work. But psyked your naked.

Nov. 27: @BigBlondBeastXXX : It is B-cubed, isn’t it? Have a great day, Stud! 😉

Nov. 28: @HomophobesSuckIt: Yeah, counts are up. Goin in for another treatment. Chemo bites.

Nov. 28: @BigBlondBeastXXX: Whadda I gotta do to get a follow? I have all your vids.

Nov. 29: @Man-LoveisBlind: Yup, I’m voice of experience. The South = Kentucky Fried Homophobia.

Nov. 30: Michael Jackson’s Thriller released 2day in 1982. I maybe old, but I know some1 who can still rock the zippered look–@BrandinTfromPhillyXXX #sexybeast #hot

Dec. 1: Don’t forget those who fell prey to a terrible disease–and their survivors. AIDS is one four-letter word that should die out of the dictionary. Support World AIDS Day, No H8. #lgbt

Dec. 2: @BigBlondBeastXXX: Happy birthday, B3! Rising the wine glass to you.

Dec. 5: @LoveGodNotFags4ever: Do I know you? John Stewart said some cool stuff abt being #gay, google it. Don’t H8.

Dec. 5:  @LoveGodNotFags4ever:  In yr honor my boxers R purple. RT @AlltheCoolPeopleAreLGBT: Wear purple to show yr supt 4 gay, lesbian, bisexual, & trans youth vs bullying.

Dec. 5: @LoveGodNotFags4ever: It’s a free country. More power to you.

Dec. 6: @FriendsofEltotheGtotheBtotheT: Zane, yr new baby is just gorgeous. She has yr dimples.

Dec. 7: Tweeps, I know times are hard, but if I can donate a few boxes to @EdenTreeFoodPantryNFP, so can you. #stophunger

Dec. 7: @XTCWiththeBoyz: Lookin’ good. Gotta admit, love me a man in a (tight) uniform.

Dec. 7: @LoveGodNotFags4ever: Look, buddy, you tweeted me 1st. Gonna have to block you now. Buh-bye.

Dec. 8: Raise your hand if you’re still up this late. I can’t sleep.

Dec. 9: Why is it ppl in Priuses speed their asses off? Just wondrin, doesn’t that negate your fuel mpg?

Dec. 9: Awesomeness! MT @LoveFrancisQuotes2013: Today, the thought that a gr8 many children do not have food 2 eat is not news.  . . . We cannot become starched Christians . . .

Dec. 11: Bummed . . .  With mamaw at the hospital. Think she broke a hip. 😦

Dec. 12: @BigBlondBeastXXX: I’m just glad 2 take pressure off kids who R being bullied or teased. Damn shame.

Dec. 15: Anyone know where to take an injured raccoon? Yes, im serious.

Dec. 17: @GinaBeanaQueena: Yeah, found Wildlife Rehab place for it, on Ash Street. They were real nice. Picked up a volunteer app.

Dec. 17: @GinaBeanaQueena: Mamaw’s doin OK. She’s staying with me, but goes 2 rehab. How RU?

Dec. 18: Tell me, what DO you get for the man who has everything . . . except a boyfriend?

Dec. 18: @TheJManfromETown checked into @BroadCreekPTRehab

Dec. 24:  Feeling like shizz today yall. Any1 know some silly songs I should put on iPod? #lonely #cheermeup #please

Trifextra: Week 102 (Flash Fiction on ‘Love Gone Wrong’)

Illustration from Hunter College High School http://www.hchs.hunter.cuny.edu/wiki/index.php?title=Image:Tiktaalik.jpg

Tiktaalik, a fossil creature from the Devonian, has been tapped as the link (or “transitional fossil”) between fish and the first vertebrates to walk on land. The fossil was discovered in the Canadian Arctic in 2004. Illustration accessed at Hunter College High School’s Web link.

Love. The mother of all four-letter words. Rivaled perhaps only by dead, this one minuscule word populates worlds and propels us.

Please join me in this world, for a flash fiction challenge.

*****

Loveolution

To the tips of her cilia, she knew—wordlessly—he wasn’t her type anymore. She was unbreakably brine, and he was earth-bound.

At the end, she undulated alone as all about her desiccated.

The "Devonian explosion" (mostly in fish species) gave way to a later mass-extinction. Illustration from Mind-Blowing Science.

The “Devonian explosion” (mostly in fish species) gave way to a later mass-extinction. Illustration from Mind-Blowing Science (link below, in “Research”).

Written for Week 102 of the Trifextra challenge, this 33-word story must touch on love gone awry. Check out the other writers and be amazed–or nerve-wracked, as I am, in going head-to-head (or heart-to-heart as the case may be) with such talented folks. And while you’re there, vote for your favorite(s), up to 3.

Research Bits:

  1. National Science Foundation, on mass extinctions, invasive species, and the Devonian Period
  2. Mind-Blowing Science, on five major mass-extinction events
  3. National Geographic, the Devonian Period 
  4. Humboldt State University’s Natural History Museum, on the Devonian Period
  5. University of California Museum of Paleontology (UCMP), Geologic Time Scale
  6. UCMP, The Devonian Period
  7. ScaleNet, glossary of terms related to zoological nomenclature (including “type”)
  8. Earth magazine, tetrapod tracks reset thinking on four-legged evolution

Friday Fictioneers: 100 Words on Lamps (Flash Fiction)

LampsbyDawnM.Miller_FridayFictioneers7Feb2014

This photograph was taken by Dawn M. Miller.

Another week has almost passed, dear readers, and that has brought more ruminating and writing and more editing and brainstorming. Please bear with me as I suss out the scope and schedule of this blog so it’s not so irregularly themed and timed.

For now, I’ll leave you with another brief piece submitted for a different flash fiction writing prompt challenge I discovered today, called Friday Fictioneers. Using the photograph by photographer Dawn M. Miller, which was posted on Rochelle Wisoff-Fields’ Addicted to Purple blog, challengers are to write a fully realized 100-word story with an end, beginning, and middle. I am not sure if the deadline is Friday or if it is posted by Fridays; however, the light bulb for the story crackled to life in my mind (pardon the pun), so I decided to take a stab at it even though I’m late for Friday.

This microfiction piece was challenging in that I couldn’t just plate up a solitary slice of time-pie, but I had to give you the whole, big (she)bang of the story arc in a mere century. I’m not terribly confident I succeeded with a real, flesh-and-blood flash-fiction story, but it was a fun springboard in any case. As ever, please feel free to offer suggestions or share your submissions, or both. In the meantime, happy writing and I’ll be back soon with some fiction not submitted for challenges!

________________________

White Shadows

Genre: Microfiction/flash fiction; possibly suspense

© Leigh Ward-Smith, 2014

“What should we do, Luci?”

The tortoiseshell purred plaintively.

“I can’t believe the shed collapsed on our bulbs! And Fiat Lux is all out; I e-mailed,” David spoke aloud. He lived alone, so there was no reason to hide his words under a basket.

During a morning spent triple-checking lamps and locks, he had looked out the window and spied the damage.

As each lamp died that day, he chanted Nothing’s gonna take my last light. Come night, the survivors’ shadows weren’t enough to barricade him against the formlessness where his father took shape and sinewy arms wouldn’t let go.

Daily Prompt: Isn’t Your Face Red

Embarrassment, I embrace you. Wilkommen! Image from http://drafthouse.com/movies/the_sound_of_music_mothers_day_brunch_feast/austin

Embarrassment, I embrace you. Wilkommen! Image from http://drafthouse.com/movies/the_sound_of_music_mothers_day_brunch_feast/austin (now go buy or rent the movie if you want some moving pictures)

Red is a lucky color in some cultures, you know. Not so much, however, when it commandeers your body.

Embarrassment—the skull-and-crossbones flagship of all things red—and I have a long and twisted history. Some say I was born, no, not blue-skinned, but bright, bawling red. (Ohmigod, I’m naked in front of all these strange people in white clothes! And why the heck is that huge one spanking me?)

Throughout life, any indignities or embarrassments channeled right to my elfin-sized ears. Sometimes it would even seep to my cheeks.

But that’s me; sheepishly entering the red room of embarrassment from time to time has not left me without some worldly treasures in the coffers, burgled as they were from the King. (Whose book on writing I highly recommend, incidentally.)

Inexplicably, I was in a singing mood while working this whole embarrassment equation out long-handedly and -windedly, so I cadged an existing tune and mashed up the lyrics a little.

And now for your reading Schadenfreude, here’s a quick cavalcade of the (now mostly humorous) face-flushing moments.

_____

My Mem’rable Slips

©Leigh Ward-Smith, 2014

Glasses on noses and mud-stains on cord jeans
Giant teenage face-pocks and bad-perm in my tweens
Peach sequined prom-dresses ruined by my trips
These are a few of my mem’rable slips

Small rounded green peas and big bullies’ harsh words
“Four-eyes” and “dork-face” and pill’ried as the nerd
“Cool” kids lack the wit, but still bring the whips
These are a few of my mem’rable slips

Mean boys in blue jeans with stoned acid washes
Hard falls in puddles, absent galoshes
Rainbow color Froot Loops burst forth from my lips
These are a few of my funniest slips

When that kid bullies
When this kid falls
When I’m feeling low
I simply recall my more mem’rable slips
And then I don’t feel, I grow.

Written in response to the Daily Prompt of 5 February 2014

Daily Prompt: Flattery, or, Can You Guess the Poet?

I’ve been reading a bit of poetry lately. Online and in bookish realms as well. Yeats mostly. I shan’t conjure that literary lion, but rather a lion of a different . . . kion.

Today’s Daily Prompt on “The Sincerest Form of Flattery,” urges:

Publish a post in the style of a favorite author/blogger or photographer.

Photographers, artists, poets: show us COPIES.

I thought of placing a graphic from the book of verse that I’m reading and whose form I’m trying to mimic, but I thought it might be fun to NOT hit y’all over the heads with the spiked club of obviousness for once. I’ve placed slashes to further note the line breaks just in case the formatting gets funky; please let me know if that is distracting or cumbersome.

See what you think about whether this style has any substance, or matter-y, to it. Is it bestiary or worstiary? Have I reached the level of worsifier or fallen to the nadir of parroty?

——————–

Elephant-smallThe Elephant

Gray and bristly, full of profundity,/

when I stand next to you, I get all stunnedity./

Your height, your girth, your mighty mem’ry:/

that you mourn your dead makes my legs go flimbry.

******

The Woodpecker

Late or early, he diligently drills/

Above us, noisy, hammering still./

Sergeant of the sky, he pecks at our roof/

Beak to metal drives us to 80-proof.

******

Misc.-Nature&Sherman 019The Mutt

Some dogs are purebred, and some are mutts/

All of them like to sniff their . . . /But

we love them, loyally, yet./

And they love everyone. Except the vet./

******

The Persian

Most cats have hair, this much is true./

Some are red or white or blue./

Take the long-haired, stately Persian./

If your allergies shriek,/

adopt a different version.

******

The Possum

There are a few things to be said for the possum:/

They hiss, they hang, and you can’t boss em.

******

The Japanese Beetle

June arrives with jittery jewels/

when all the kids are out of schools./

Emerald buggers bog down your roses./

They’re glad to come, but we best enjoy their go-ses.

******

The Duck

One sometimes wonders how the duck,/

dunking underwater, does not get stuck./

There’s trash and metal, dross and jetsam./

There are those who litter–and we just letsam.

And finally, the dead giveaway–

Welcome to Og’s Den

These days, pets are the fashion./

But for me, I prefer to get my Nash on./

If the Web is a zoo,/

don’t be surprised if the ‘Net someday comes for you.

If you made it this far, I urge you to check out the real deal, the true brew, the firstist versist, the sublimer rhymer,  . . . here or here. And enjoy.

100 Words on Saturday: A Write Tribe Challenge

Well, it’s submission 100 Words on Saturday - Write TribeSaturday, folks. I found another challenge with which to sharpen my writing on a whetstone of words (try saying that fast). This one is the Write Tribe 100-word challenge (the 2014-5 incarnation). Give it a go, fiction f(r)iends! As always, feedback will feed you back—in other words, your comments are appreciated and I’ll do my best to reciprocate.

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Genre: Microfiction

A doppelgänger of the mind

©Leigh Ward-Smith, 2014

As Melanie Yelton trained cornflower eyes on the microwave carousel, she tried to ignore the coil slipping closer to her sternum.

Silently, like many times before, she logged the revolutions of the russet, pirouetting oblongly. 265.

Giggles cartwheeled down the hallway, which made her bring the blood.

When the time comes, how do I tell her about you? Melanie chewed a lip as she drummed hangnail-ragged fingers in a 3-3-3-2-2 pattern. My constant companion. My damaged doppelgänger.

The familiar viper of fear sliding through her ribs told her that soon it would be time to check the window latches again.

Crotalus basiliscus by Dr. Holger Krisp of Ulm, Germany. This photo was obtained via Creative Commons Attribution 3.0 Unported license.

Crotalus basiliscus (Mexican west coast rattlesnake) by Dr. Holger Krisp of Ulm, Germany. This photo was obtained via Creative Commons Attribution 3.0 Unported license.