I remember the door. It looked rusted but it smelled more putrid, like the smell of a festering wound.

I don’t remember opening the door. Just that the smell got worse, like burning bodies in the crematorium. Or an infested meat house.

In our line of work, Brother, we deal with the dying, we know the smell s. But this was like nothing I’ve ever experienced. You asked me why I am forsaking the monkhood vows?

Inside the darkness I looked for the sick and dying, the bodies that could’ve caused the rancidness. But there was nothing. No bodies or bones. No blankets or medical equipment. No animals or fecal matter. There was no sign that life had ever been there. And without life, how could there possibly be death?

Death cannot exist without Life, but has found a way. Death made a deal with the Devil and even a pact between Life and God will not win this war.


Back Words

Mom says I see the world backwards.
I see that the dog is god
Not is still a ton, you don’t slap your pals,
war is raw, and the reward drawer is always full.
She says it’s wrong to think this way.
Wrong. Gnorw.

That doesn’t make sense.

Mom gets stressed and eats desserts,
calls me an avid diva, an attention seeker.
She sets a time for me to emit remorse
and settles into her doom mood.
I faced the decaf she handed me,
I look at the mug, she chews gum.
She tells me to stop acting crazy.
Crazy. Yzarc.

That doesn’t make sense.

Mom said I was a star, but rats, I’m not.
She said I was proof the devil lived.
She says, just stop! Change, think different.
I hear – Edit the tide, repel the leper.
She says she’s my warder, ready to redraw me.
If you love me, she says, you’ll change.
Love. Evol. Evil. Live.

That I can make sense of.

‘We are all kings and pawns of men.’ – Bonaparte’s famous quote, adapted for the screen in The Count of Monte Cristo – ‘We are either kings or pawns; emperors or fools.’ I always liked that line, don’t think it was in Alexander Dumas’ original work though. I must ask you, if you perceive me as your nemesis, your downfall, why do you insist on these meetings? We discuss and you are found wanting in every topic. We play games and you are handed your loss. As your perceived nemesis, no matter the game at hand, I will cause your downfall. Yet you call the meetings, inviting your own demise. A king kills his nemesis. A pawn is manipulated by him. The emperor runs him off. A fool does nothing. You can’t kill me or run me off, I am not manipulating you and yet you aren’t ignoring me either. What kind of fifth player are you?

Writer’s Block

Posted for MicroBookends – highly recommend checking them out

Face up and forgotten, the remnants of untold stories lie in the dirt, a two leaf clover breaching the hull. Two leaf clovers don’t bring good luck – that’s four leaf clovers. And two leaves don’t mean half the luck, it means no luck. The wind understands my plight for she also caries stories and words on her wings. But she can’t help me.

I miss the caress of fingertips on the keys, the soft shifting of paper rolling across the cylinder, and the polite click of ink hitting the page. Untold stories should not be forgotten. So many words deserve the page. One day the shadows will lift.


First we made sure the auditorium was empty. Alex couldn’t get caught again; he was on final warning. I unplugged the amplifiers from the soundboard and lowered them off the stage to Alex. These would go for hundreds in the market. Ever since the law passed against garage bands, amps like these with the potential to play over 80 decibels were scarce. Alex said it was our responsibility to provide access to 120 decibel true rock sound. It was a musical freedom he said; something everyone should experience. He showed me once, the mind-numbing euphony of loud rock music blaring. Thus, our criminal careers in Heavy Metal Larceny were born.

Phone Call

“It is time to make the announcement,” Randal whispered into my ear. I started to stand with him but sat right back down.

“I really think we should wait until after the doctor calls. She said she’d call this morning, and her office closes soon, we should get the call any minute.”

“Jenna, we talked about this. I know you haven’t been feeling great, but nothing is wrong. The doctor is going to confirm what you’re feeling is normal and you haven’t lost the baby. We need to share this exciting news with our friends and family.”

“I know but people have miscarriages all the time, I’d rather have the doctor confirm everything is ok than announce to everyone we’re expecting and then take it back later,” I was practically begging him. Our friends and family were gathered as usual for Saturday barbecue. It had been a tradition ever since Randal and I had gotten married over a year ago. Most of our family lived across the bridge, so it was nice to have an excuse for us to get together every week.

“Ten more minutes? Then we make the announcement?” He kissed my forehead, “Don’t worry, love, it’s ok to be excited about this. I know I am!” I smiled back at him and let myself relax into his arms. It was safe there.

Ten short minutes later, everyone was still seated and Randal took my hand and chinked his plastic knife against his glass of water. It didn’t echo right, so he clapped his hands and got everyone’s attention. All eyes turned toward us and I squeezed Randal’s hand tighter.

“We have an announcement to make,” Randal said, his deep voice resonating. I jumped as my phone vibrated in my pocket. Everyone laughed and I held up my finger in the standard “one moment” way. I stepped to the side as I heard Randal say, “Well, thank you for making these Saturday bbq’s awesome. Always good to see…”

I put my ear to the phone. “Hi, Jenna? This is Dr. Noran, I have your test results.”

I hung up the phone, not even enough moisture left in my mouth to seal and envelope.

“Oh and here she comes back…” said Randal and his face turned towards mine. His expression went from one of pleasantries to absolute terror. Tears filled my eyes and I saw redness seeping into his.

“Uhm, just wanted to thank you all, no other annou…”

“Randal,” I said cutting him off and rejoining him at the table. My mother was nervously running her hands along her beaded necklace.

“We do have an announcement,” I said. Randal put his hand over his eyes to hide the tears that were starting to flow. “We’re expecting twins!”

Randal’s head shot up as his upset tears turned to tears of joy. He bundled me up in his arms as our families clapped and cheered. As he held me I felt little kicks celebrating from inside.

Pumpkin Patch

Daddy always took us to the pumpkin patch on the weekend before Halloween, the one down the street outside the grocery store. My sister Nina and I watched out the big picture window, our hands making smudges on the clear glass.

“I’m going to pick the biggest pumpkin!” I said.

“Not if I find it first!” Nina said. But I was ten and she was only six, so I knew I’d find it first.
We tussled on the couch playfully keeping our eyes on the window while Mommy was washing dishes in the kitchen. I grabbed a blanket to make a fort on the couch where we could still see out the window. Blanket forts were Nina’s favorite, and as her older brother it was my job to make them with her sometimes. I told her she was lucky to have a big brother as cool as me.

It felt like a million years but Daddy’s red pickup truck pulled up the driveway and Nina squealed. We ran out to greet him and he bundled us both up into his arms.

“Looks like you two are excited!” he said.

“They’ve been waiting all afternoon at the window,” said Mommy, opening the screen door through which Nina and I had just barreled through. Daddy carried us to the kitchen, told us to grab some jackets. He put his arms around Mommy’s waist and kissed her. I thought it was gross but he got mad at me last time I said something about it, so I shielded my eyes and went to get my coat.
Coat on, I peeked into the kitchen to make sure Daddy wasn’t kissing Mommy.

“Are you sure, David” I heard Mommy say.

“Absolutely! I’ll pick up a few extra shifts next month.” I could see him smile and Mommy mirrored him.

“If you’re sure. Money is tight, I’m sure the kids will understand.”

“Nah, I want this for them.” Said Daddy, as Nina ran past me into the kitchen.

“Ready, kiddo?” said Mommy lifting her up. I followed into the kitchen and Daddy winked at me. Ok maybe I’ll get the second biggest pumpkin from the patch.