Wednesday, October 30, 2019

Silly Writing Exercise #2--The F-Word

Francesa’s wedding was an enormous flop.
It was a fertile topic of discussion for months
She had chosen for a theme: American flags and fish,
based on her patriotic passion for freedom
and her fiance’s fervent devotion to his favorite hobby,
but the facetious merging of the two was nothing but
a flippant fantasy that had fallen flat.
I must admit, the unfurled flags looked fantastic in the foreground
of her wedding photos with family and friends,
but it was unintentionally funny when we found out
that someone had fastened festering dead frogmouth catfish
to the fenders of the rented Ferrari.
“Just married!” the sign read. “Finally and forever!”

Silly Writing Exercise #1--Snow and OIl

Carolyn’s thoughts began to drift to her ex-boyfriend,
the type of guy who smoked a pipe at the age of 22.
He brushed dandruff flakes off the shoulders
of his black turtleneck.
He spoke coldly of the poor and disadvantaged
and bragged of his parents’ riches.
Just when her heart started to melt,
he’d do something crude,
and she’d grow frigid at his touch.
She didn’t know why she spent so much energy on him,
why she picked up his wet socks off the bathroom floor
or sorted his dirty underwear.
In the center of his eyes, she found only ice.
Easily annoyed by the viscous quality of his voice.
He used money from his father’s slush fund
to buy her a necklace with an iridescent stone,
frosty pink in color,
but she found the gesture slick and meaningless.
They really were polar opposites,
calm, clear water and a thick sludge.

Wednesday, October 23, 2019


Kyle sneezed particularly hard one day,
and the gray matter of his brain
slid easily out of his right ear
and glopped onto the white tile
of the kitchen floor.
This surprised his fiancée, Kristin.
A second earlier, she had been dictating
the seating chart for their wedding;
the next moment
Kyle’s entire mind absconded.
“Pick it up!” she cried,
but Kyle merely stared into the distance,
his lower jaw hanging open a bit.
Finally Kristin had the presence of mind
to call 911, but the dispatcher didn’t understand,
and the paramedics were astounded.
Kyle’s body was not only still alive,
but his brain had started scooting
around on the floor
making little squeaking noises
and leaving a trail of clear fluid behind it.
The paramedics were afraid to touch it,
afraid to damage it,
so eventually Kristin,
who always wound up having to do everything herself,
scooped it up and put it in a cardboard box.
Kyle’s body seemed fine,
could walk on its own,
as long as you led it by the hand.
His body on a stretcher,
and his mind in a box,
Kyle was transported to the hospital,
and a team of neurologists stared at him
for a good long while.
Kyle’s mind was electric and active
in a clear plastic incubator next to his body,
and his heart kept on beating,
and his organs kept on organing,
but Kristin was fairly sure the wedding
would have to be postponed at the very least,
deposits lost,
gifts returned.
Meanwhile, Kyle’s body grew more independent,
could change the channel on the TV,
could operate a laptop,
could continue working
on a part-time basis,
and even leave comments on Twitter.
His body was eventually discharged from the hospital,
since doctors weren’t sure what else to do with it.
They planned to keep his brain for research purposes.
Kristin decided the wedding could go on after all,
I mean, she had the dress and everything.
The night before the nuptials,
Kyle’s body snuck into the hospital
to free his brain.
His arms carefully cradled it,
jello-like gray matter.
It trembled and whimpered a little
during this reunion.
Kyle’s body drove his brain to a forest preserve,
and he set it gently in the limbs of an oak tree.
Kyle’s brain was never seen again.
The neurologists were devastated.
Kyle’s wedding went off without a hitch.
A few months later, his body was promoted
to assistant vice president,
and the future never seemed brighter.

An Early Dinner

I glanced outside at the falling snow,
thick white flakes sticking to the road.
The air inside the café was perfumed
with cinnamon, cardamom, cloves.
My mother wouldn’t stop talking
about her new silk scarf,
“from the Orient,” she said.
“You mean Asia,” I replied.
But she wouldn’t listen to me,
and I couldn’t pay attention to her.
I just kept thinking about the snow,
how it would seep through
the bottom of my shoes,
cold, wet socks,
how I’d have to brush it off my car,
how the flakes would fall in a shower
onto the driver’s seat,
how the traffic would be snarled,
how our wheels would skid at stoplights,
how it would continue to pile up overnight,
wet heavy piles to shovel in the morning.
My mother had to leave.
She was going to some crafting class
involving gluing succulents into a round glass ball
and making it look like some kind of fairy cottage.
“Are you sure you don’t want to come with?”
she asked, dabbing petroleum jelly on her chapped lips.
The child in me yearned to go with her everywhere;
the surly teenager in me said no.
“You didn’t dress warmly enough,” she scolded.
“Here, take my scarf,” she commanded, tying it on my neck.
“It looks better on you anyway.”


She told me once,
in passing,
that her stepdad was a serial killer,
but she quickly changed the subject
and never gave me any more details,
and of course I wanted to know more,
but I thought it might be a painful subject,
triggering, even,
or perhaps it would make me seem ghoulish to inquire
if he were famous,
who were his victims were,
if he went by three names,
when she found out,
if there were bodies in the crawlspace,
if she was a target
and had to escape his clutches,
if her mother knew,
and probably most importantly,
where he was now,
and now I think it was very strange of her
to mention it like that,
and I wish I had more to tell you,
but it never came up again.