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Monthly Archives: July 2013

Word Prompt: a Leaf

Words flutter past me; in their fall, I reach blindly for one to call my own. Like leaves, brittle and frail in autumn gusts, they crumble to pieces in my shaky head. Their beauty is crushed, and I have no choice but to reach for others. Turning so quickly from green to brown, drying up before my very eyes, I think they all might die before I can find one pumping with life. Life to bring spring and summer on the page where I dread winter’s frozen and barren grounds. In the whirlwind, I search for the word still orange and red, where shades of green still fight for their right, and once it is in my sight, I will leap high to make sure it is mine.


365 Things to Write About, a Leaf

365 Things to Write About, a Leaf


Word Prompt: Spaceship

We owned the world

For just one day

We made it ours

Then flew away

Beyond the sun

The moon, the stars

We soared through black

Looked back at Mars

Did we not stop

To pay respect

For that which gave

Hope and prospect?

We raced ahead

To claim the next

Escaped black holes

Made peace with flecks

Dust, ash, and rock

Drifting no place

Light years away

We cried in space

For what was lost

We bowed wet eyes

For truth we sought

Came with its price


Word Prompt: a Pinata

Beaten down

Battered to a pulp

Insides emptied

Scattered to the ground

Gone, long gone

Snatched by wolves

Impish heathens

Thrilled by kill

The murder

A rainbow star

Split open

Bashed again and again

Hung to die

Left for dead

Sky mourns a loss

Its child lynched, slain

Tears fall softly

Melt purple, green, blue

Pinata blood

Puddled below

A corpse split in two

Word Prompt: a Cat

She’s crouching on the deck, paws pushing into the warm concrete floor as she spies on my porch across the street. Her eyes don’t blink when I step outside. We stare at each other for three seconds before I smile and stroll across the yard. I don’t have to look at her to know she’s still watching me. The nosiest neighbor of them all, she won’t let me out of her sight…until I’m halfway down the street. Then she’ll avert her gaze back to the target. It wasn’t me. I was the distraction.

Her orange tail twitches. Like an addict craving the smorsgabord of drugs, alcohol, or food spread across a banquet table, inviting her to take a small taste…before she dives in and falls down the rabbit hole, spiraling toward a furious frenzy she hides so well when she licks her paws and meows for a scratch between the ears. She never cared about me. Her obsession is the bed of twigs and  grass nestled in my basil pot. A mother bird incubating her baby doves, nursing them to a healthy strength when they can spread their wings and fly away.

I see the beauty of this nature scene. Miss Cat only sees a meal. If only she could reach the perch where Mother Bird was smart enough to nest her young. Miss Cat’s chubby legs could never spring her ample tummy high enough to reach the ledge of her prey. Miss Cat will have to find another home to raid. She knows better than to trespass, too. But that doesn’t stop her from spying, ruminating moves and plots she’ll never try. For if she does and I catch her in the act, her big ol’ bottom is going to meet the tail end of my broom. I doubt it will teach her to mind her own business, but it will be fun to watch her meaty haunches bounding across the road and back to her post, where I’m certain to find her crouched again when I go for my next morning run.

Word Prompt: Genius

“The man who invented No-Doze, he was a genius,” Mag said, slapping a box on the counter. “You got ten bucks I can borrow?”

He turned to his roommate Boone. He always had an extra wad in his back pocket. His mom sent him a card with money in it every week.

Boone shrugged, “Yeah, one sec.”

He hated that Mag always bummed money from him. Seven months as roommates, and Mag’s tab had grown to $600. Almost a hundred bucks a month. Boone knew he’d never see that money again.

“What you boys goin’ to do wit dis?” the clerk asked, shaking the No-Doze in Mag’s face.

“”Finals, sir. We have finals this week. Gotta study ’round the clock to get passing grades,” Mag said sincerely.

“Well, lawdy, son. In my day, plain coffee worked just fine.”

“Oh, don’t worry, sir. We plan to drink that, too.”

The clerk shook his head and rang up the sale. “Kids dese days be stupid,” he muttered.

“Come on, Boone. Let’s go ace some exams!” Mag exclaimed as he marched to the door.

Boone didn’t need the No-Doze to pass his finals; he’s been attending lectures and writing papers all semester while Mag overslept in their dorm room and purchased essays online. Mag didn’t believe in putting effort into school. He’s rather party and meet girls, then cram fifteen weeks of information into an all-night memorization session. To Boone’s disbelief, it worked. Boone was flabbergasted when his roommate passed every class in first semester. He’d never even showed up to them.

“Dude, we’re going to spend the rest of our lives chained to cubicles and obligations – this is the only time when we’re not tied down to anything. We’re completely free! Live it. Enjoy it. You’re not gonna have the luxury of this much free time on your hands for another forty-five years. And by then, you’ll be too tired and old to do anything.”

Boone knew Mag had a point, but his time at college wasn’t free. It was controlled by a financial scholarship that would disappear if his GPA slipped below 3.25. Just because Boone’s mother sent him money every week didn’t mean he came from a house with an endless stream of money. She sent him the extra tips she earned working a second job as a waitress. Mag didn’t know about that. He didn’t know about Boone’s life – how he’d grown up rich for fifteen years and then, in one day, watched all that money vanish because Boone’s father had lived like Mag and operated his financial brokerage firm with the same “live now, worry later” attitude. “Worry later” landed Boone’s dad in prison for twenty years.

Boone envied his dad’s and Mag’s spontaneity, their desire to seize life by the balls, but he didn’t want to share his father’s fate. Deep down, he didn’t think a man like the one who created No-Doze was a genius. And he thought the people who took a drug to pass exams were ten shades of stupid.


Word Prompt: Paint

I splash it across the canvas. One giant swipe and the vermillion oil is there, making its mark on empty, white space. “I am red,” it exclaims. “I am the beginnings of art.”

It stands alone, basking in solitary glory while I debate the next move. Who joins vermillion on this stage? Who works with it, or against, to create a performance worthy of applause? Orange will not compete, and teal will only aggravate the harmony I’m trying to explore.

Eggplant raises its hand and swoops valiantly below the red. “Let’s sing,” it croons. “Let’s make this play a musical.”

“Oh, Eggplant,” Midnight Blue sighs. “We are not Broadway, we are the Globe! Sophisticated and dark. Poetic in our words and giant, sweeping moves across the stage.”

And Midnight marches grandly overhead, back and forth, back and forth, until it has set the dramatic backdrop for the rest of my colors to come into play.

Teal is less afraid now. It finds a lone spot where it can sit and watch the action unfold, a mere extra in the bigger scene.

Vermillion begs for a bigger part and drags Goldenrod into view. “Act like you’re my friend. We’re partners, comrades.” Goldenrod raises its wand and blows a golden halo of dust into the night sky.

“Let’s try to think good thoughts,” says a wistful Rose, hoping to get a bigger role as well. Its small, delicate voice accents the bold gestures of those who’ve arrived to give us one heck of a show.

An ensemble of colors grouped around the canvas, battling for a solo, holding hands when the dance number begins. And they dance and twirl, around and around, dipping and swirling, leaping high and crouching low, while others gently sway their arms and hips from side to side.

This is the show as it plays out in my head. Traipsing down my forearm to the brush gripped in my hand. Inspired by gobs of paint waiting for their chance to shine.


Word Prompt: Tropical island

I had a dream that my boyfriend wanted to vacation in Tahiti. I’ve already been there, before I was diagnosed with lupus and doctors advised I avoid the sun. In Tahiti, there isn’t much to do that doesn’t involve the sun. The islands of French Polynesia promote sun-bathing, swimming, surfing, snorkeling – all activities that begin with “s,” like the sun.

I didn’t want to vacation in Tahiti. It’s a beautiful place, but I’d been there, done that, and I was itching to see something else. Thailand or Tokyo. Turkey or the Taj Mahal. Somewhere new and different. Not that Tahiti isn’t different from my crazy hectic life in LA, but it wasn’t something I’d never seen before.

I wanted to explore the rest of the world. Take a train through Europe or hike the Great Wall in China. I craved adventure and culture. Seeing civilizations from the past assimilating with societies of the present and future.

Tropical islands give me sand and palm trees, lapping waves, and fruity cocktail drinks. They slow me down for a few days. But can I say they enrich my soul? Only when I reflect upon my fast-paced lifestyle, and that is difficult to change. I’m driven by learning and exposing my mind to new things. I like visual stimulation. That’s why I live in a city.

But I crazy simplicity as well. Islands offer that. Big cities don’t.

In my dream, I couldn’t decide where I wanted to go. I only knew it wasn’t Tahiti. But I might be open to the Galapagos or Belize. Maybe not on the next trip, perhaps in a couple of years.

First world problems – dreaming where to go on vacation. Maybe tonight I should dream about volunteering at an orphanage in Ethiopia.