Category Archives: Love

Cold Hearted John Meadows

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My name is John Meadows, at least, that’s what it says on my birth certificate. At this moment, I’m not sure if that is even true.

I woke up in a bedroom. It was an unknown space. Except, as I lifted my head up off the pillow, I noticed a picture that looked familiar. I stood, walked over to it: it was flush with the wall. An outdoor moment in time. There was a man, and a woman. They held each other, big smiles on their faces.

The man leaned on a vast gnarled tree. Instead of branches, It looked as if seven tree trunks wound around each other, an abstract weave of latticework wood. The leaves were thick, a dark shade of green that looked almost like they were black. They hung over the couple like a frame.

The woman had her head resting on the man’s shoulder. His hair fell to his collar, so dark that at first, I thought it looked like it was cut out of the photo. Her hair was lighter, a mixture of golden brown and red. I remembered that it was called Auburn. I don’t know why I didn’t realize that at first. Yes, Auburn-haired, long, it fell down and over his chest, making his torso look like it disappeared as well.

The photo bothered me. Her eyes sparkled when the shot was taken. His eyes held little to no reflection. I looked. His didn’t, even with the sunlight spotlighting where they stood. Her eyes, the tilt of her head, her smile: there was life. He smiled, but it didn’t seem to reach his eyes. They were flat.

Out of the corner of my eye, I noticed a free-standing full-body mirror to my left. It stood at a tilt near white folding slat doors. I shuffled my way over to it. I could not remember what I looked like, nor who I was. Maybe, I thought, looking at the reflection, things would come into focus. My heart began to accelerate, chest tightening, and it was getting difficult to breathe. I hadn’t been aware of breathing before this. I was now.

Coming into full view, I felt my head had received something smashing into it. It hurt like hell. I had to touch my head. It felt like bone shattered. I checked. It felt solid. But the pain. It was like a steel bar was slammed against my forehead.

A steel bar? Why did I…no, more a bat? Baseball? No, no. A baseball. Yes, a baseball hurtling to me, not even registering that I needed to move, to duck, do something. But it was too fast. I was too slow. I was up, then nothing. It felt just like that, although I didn’t know why. I still don’t know why I felt that way when I stepped in front of the mirror.

Yes, I was the man in that photo, even though I did not remember that. It was clear upon viewing, my eyesight was waving, no floaters, no film distortion over the irises. I looked at myself in the mirror, then over to the photo. Goosebumps paraded across my spine.

Turning, I took in the rest of the room. White minimalism in paint and fabrics. Same with my pajama pants. I noticed, then, that I had no shirt on. A look in the mirror traveled down; before, I was solely intent only on my face. My chest was hairy but not matted. Three parallel deep pink scars ran from my left armpit to just past the bellybutton. An inny. They didn’t hurt as much as throb. Noticing them did not help my rapid breathing and heart rate.

The next moments are still a blur. I know I looked around: the place had been tidy when I awoke. Now, drawers, men’s clothing, papers littered the white. All the bed linen was on the floor. The sliding slat doors were open wide, showing a closet that was only half full. I took this all in, sitting on the floor, leaning against the bed. I felt something hard and looked down. I had a metal lockbox in my hands. My breathing shallowed, and I felt myself calm down to regular human beats. At least, what I thought were normal.

There was no lock to have to break into. The lid swung up with ease, showing the mound of papers it carried. I riffled through the envelopes, unfolded the various papers, and only stopped when I found a Birth Certificate. Mine, I have assumed, until someone tells me differently. 

My name is John Meadows.

If you are listening to this tape, then most likely I am dead. Or too far away for any meaning of living or dead is inconsequential. This is the story of what happened from that moment of waking, clueless to everything that had meaning to me. I know that the woman in the photo was Jean, my partner. I know she no longer…is here. Where? At this time, I still do not know how to answer that.

Whoever you are, whenever you are, do yourself and loved ones a favor.

Do not stand under the leaves of that massive, gnarled tree.

It is not the Tree of Life.

Sonnet: When The Time Is Right

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There comes a time when people get tired of being pushed out of the glittering sunlight of life’s July and left standing amid the piercing chill of an alpine November. Martin Luther King, Jr.

OIP

 

Intimidation tactics are useless

Where the many are set upon as thieves

These are times punctuated through much stress

With hopes that all of our fears are relieved.

 

Hateful, scornful words meet extreme actions

Quiet shattered by jeers of discontent

The deep divide of opposing factions

It puts roadblocks in the way, we are rent

 

Yet, if the tide was to turn to the truth

The consequences in dire dispute

Thoughts and prayers may not be the needed sooth

To mend what has been sundered by refute

 

What impending years that we will pass through

Steps can be taken for our lawful due

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☼ ☼ ☼ ☼ ☼ ☼ ☼ ☼ ☼ ☼

This was a blog challenge: Simply 6 Minutes from Stine Writing

The rules for the challenge: Use today’s prompt (The MLKjr quote above)

Write for SIX Minutes. When your timer goes off, you are done.

Post on Stine Writing blog or on your own with a link on that blog’s site.

I did the above in under six minutes, where I had enough time to make sure there were ten syllables in each line.

I know; I shouldn’t edit, but, c’mon. It’s a sonnet. 🙂

A Kaleidoscope of Memories

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A KALEIDOSCOPE OF MEMORIES

Three

From Two

Forged by blood;

Laughter, tears,

Disagreements, hugs,

Friendship, caring,

Drifting away, coming back

Good times, desperate measures,

A rhythm was set

Connections held

Through the years

Bonds

Links

Love

 

In memory: Susan, Steven, Theilia, and Bernie

For my cousin, Sharon

One Two 300

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The number 300,

Where did it come from, you ask?

Come sit, dear child.

I will do my best

To describe 300

It’ll put your mind at rest.

Once upon a time, One became known

To all across the world

Yet no One knew then

That One had a twin; of sorts

One was delighted

Thinking that “!” was by One’s side

Yet a rude awakening quickly followed,

That Exclamation Point always trailed behind.

One drifted along,

A fraction of fear, for

One wanted an addition

Of this, it was clear,

Alone One felt relatively null.

A need to multiply, One felt,

Was its right summation

Was One the final destination?

UNTIL

One terrible shaking shook the world

So unexpected and irrational

When the shuddering settled

One felt naturally at ease

Not knowing the quiet

Was but a tease.

Yet One was but a start,

Another One came calling,

Abstract and complex

People were swept off their feet

Heads all awhirl, 

Some stomachs, too, truth to tell.

Trees fell, waves rose up in the air

Then all was quiet on the front

Staying right and stable.

‘One happened, then once again?’

Questioning arose

One following another One did not compute.

A wise woman named Venn asked

“We should all come together,

A gathering circle.”

They joined as a group

They overlapped in a fury

Theories were thrown about,

Until One shouted, “Eureka!”

Twa claimed its name.

Ideas and events added more to the mix

Tres followed Twa

Then came the rest.

One hundred came,

Followed by Twa hundred in a row.

Last year it was 299,

Then we added One,

And 300 was born.

So, dear child,

300 is here! This equation is solved.”

“But Grandpa,” she said,

Rubbing her eyes,

“Why will next year

Be 300 and One?”

The Dismissed or The Way

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I wondered why I was here.

Then you appeared

Keeping distant, but there

On the edge of discomfort

The need sweeping through

I wondered why

You appeared

Have you felt being stuck

Inside a dreadful memory?

Splinters of hurt

Aching enveloping

Drawn inwards

Trying to let it slip away

Holding onto it with desperate claws

“I’m tired” leaves the lips

Wafting out uncontrolled

I still wondered why

You appeared

After I have given up

You tell someone close

Thoughts of the fears

From your history, resurfacing

Wanting to be listened to

To be understood

“Just get over it.

Let it go.”

Platitudes of dismissal

Of what you say

For not fitting in with

How they live their lives

So you shut up,

Refusing to open more

Feelings and mindset are mine

But run over,

Sunk into the muck of expectations.

You appeared.

Dreading another rerun

Of relationships past

You appeared

A question of what if

Holds fast to the negatives

You

Hold too much hope

That this time will be different

Or will it dig a deeper hole

That embraces being tired

And you wonder, anew

Why are you here?

Why am I here?

Then you appeared.

 

Deciding to get lost, in Paris: Psychogeography, Qu’est-ce que ç’est?

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DECIDING TO GET LOST, IN PARIS: Psychogeography, Qu’est-ce que ç’est?

Author’s Note:

Usually, this appears at the bottom of my posts. I’m never really sure if any of you read them. I’ve asked numerous questions that get little to no responses. C’est la vie?  Je ne sais pas.

This came from a #FF Prompt:  Psychogeography on the Fiction Can Be Fun blog.  I’ve mentioned the blog a number of times, as well as its creators, Debs & David. They are co-writing a novel that I can’t wait to get my grubby mitts on. I met them a few years ago during one of the April AtoZ Blog Challenge. If you are new to my world, click on the links. FCBF is always a good read, and the AtoZ challenge is a gratifying, if not sometimes nerve-wracking, feat to achieve. I’m grateful to have gotten to become friends with Debs, David, and Arlee (the creator and curator of the AtoZ Blog Challenge).

For full details on Psychogeography, I strongly suggest three sources to discover this brand new term (to me) is all about. Click above on the FCBF link. Then, click on Icy Sedgwick’s blog. You want folklore, she’s got it. Podcast included.

Third: Google. It does a mind good.

Basics: Imagine a place you’ve visited, or wanted to visit, or make it up, but only traveled by WALKING. No transportation of any type except by your feet. Take in the details. Describe them. Show, don’t tell, gets mixed around here, depending on how you are approaching this: Fictionally or Non-Fiction. You, or your character, is viewing through the lens of Psychology & Geography. Emotions? Details? Epiphanies? Your choice. To join in, please click on Fiction Can Be Fun  and read the “rules.”

I decided to get lost in Paris on the fifth day of my vacation.

Every previous day had been planned out: the Louvre, Musée d’Orsay, Eiffel Tower, Rodin’s house and gardens, traveling on the Seine, Notre Dame (pre-fire), following a lengthy trail of Monet art, the Moulin Rouge/ Montmartre  /Place Pigalle. Those were all on my checklist.

Deliberately, I set aside one unorganized day to freestyle explore. No real destination, just walking the streets of Paris, taking in as much as I could. Noticing the architectural adversity of the past and the present. Cobbled stoned lanes crossing or connecting to paved roads.  

After a well-sustaining breakfast at the hotel, I set out with no map. Yes, I was living life dangerously: this was pre-Cell Phones, GPS, whatever. You actually had to talk to a real person if you were off course of your destination. Landlines and payphones the only way to connect beyond your immediate area.

I got on a train at the closest Metro station. Didn’t check where it was heading. First train I found, that was it. The car was reasonably full for a good portion of the ride. A lot would leave, a lot would replace them. Until the crowds lessened, and fewer people got on or off. I waited.

Next two stations, a few passengers left the train. Absolutely no one walked into emptying space. That was my cue to get off and explore the Paris above me.

I was met by paved roads, modernized buildings, and heavy Parisian traffic. I was used to that. Walking in arbitrary directions, I found what I wanted in a brief period: cobblestoned streets, a narrow road dotted with small shops, and relatively light on pedestrians. I crossed the main road and entered the Paris I had envisioned.

Colors were vivid, changing shop by shop. The décor varied as well, most embracing their past roots. I walked, turned corners on a whim, and headed into this, to me, a delightful maze of discovery. Clothing, bakeries, cheese shops, cafes, women’s clothing, men’s suits, every bit of finery well displayed, nothing ostentatious. This wasn’t Le Avenue des Champs-Élysées. I was glad of that.

I noticed a sign for a Picasso museum. Sold. As I made my way there, I found magic.

It was a dried flower shop. Shop doors wide open, arrangements on the outside of the florist shop, the many colors, the many weavings of this wild assortment of flowers, drew me in.

From the ceiling beams hung bunches of wildflowers drying, the stems pointed to the top. The aroma filled the store, a light mixture of scents that I hungrily breathed in. I was not very knowledgeable about flowers. The names, varieties, when they grew best. All that was lost on me.

It was the way each piece was crafted. How the shop could seem disjointed in its exhibitions. But, the more time I spent walking around the uneven aisles, noticing the varying levels of placements, the degrees of color shifting, I could never think of it as thrown together without thought. 

One-piece stopped me. A grouping of dried dwarf Red Roses, in the shape of a heart. I had begun dating a woman a short while before I left NY. We were at the point we both wanted to take the relationship further. We liked each other. A hopeless romantic, I purchased the arrangement. Well wrapped, I left with the package to continue on. A few steps from the shop, I looked back, seeing it all from a slightly different point of view. 

This was art on display, in a fitting setting, along a cobblestone road in Paris.

I continued getting lost, looking for more magic. 

When I Was A Child

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WHEN I WAS A CHILD

©Stuart Nager/Chris Carbone

Lyrics: Stuart Nager
Music: Chris Carbone/Stuart Nager
Grinn Singers: Kerrigan Webb Sullivan
Melissa Jones
Chris Carbone
Stuart Nager

When I was a child
Things were just so wild
It was you and me
We were really free
Always on the run
Always having fun
When I was a child

I remember things so clearly
Growing up as I did
My friends and I played daily
At nighttime, we hid

Our minds went exploring
With every book we read
The page/s were like lightning
Imaginations, fully fed

When I was a child
Things were just so wild
It was you and me
We were really free
Always on the run
Always having fun
When I was a child

And in our dreams we’d tumble
Exploring new-found shores
Filling our nights with treasure
By opening up new doors

When I look upon it now
A smile will find my face
I’ll never be alone
Memories, a saving grace

When I was a child
Things were just so wild
It was you and me
We were really free
Always on the run
Always having fun
When I was a child

It was you and me
We were really free
When I was a child

**************   *****************  *************

Author’s Note:

In the winter of December 1997/January 1998, we had plenty of Improv song structures/skeletons. Any show we performed one of them at, the lyrics happened on the spot. It was fun, scary, risky, challenging, and FUN. The Brothers Grinn (and Sisters) went into a studio and recorded our one and only cassette. Yes. Cassette. At the time, CDs were new and three times the price. So, Cassettes.

When I Was A Child is the only song on that cassette that was never sung in a show. I wrote it, had the basic melody in my head, and I asked Chris (Music Director and close friend) to help translate my humming/mumbling into music that made sense. Most, if not all, of the Grinns liked the song. Recording was a drag, but the final product was worth the effort. 

The Brothers Grinn©, an Interactive Improvisational Storytelling Troupe, lasted from October 1994 to December 2006.

The lyrics above have gone unsung since. That is a shame. 

Music is eternal.

I hope you enjoy this

Take Love: Sonnet & Tanka

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TAKE LOVE: Sonnet

Unfilled to the deepest depths, ardor fails
Pushing love away, Pulls love back again
Games you play, yet I come, no magic, stale
Enchant me with ardor not constant pain.
 
See a Bee searching for pollen to thrive
Deterred of flower's unopened petals
Across barren fields, darting to survive
Sharp blade edged, pierced deeply among nettles.

Yet, still, betrayed by the memories shared 
Raptured embraces, hands entwined, we run
Kisses, smiles, our bed, enticed feelings bared
Blind to the vanishing you, soon undone.

Stagnant, I, bereft of your caring grace
The Bee wanders, black void drops into place.


TAKE LOVE: Tanka

Disdain withers love,

No give, only take;  heart speared

Putrefaction

Trampled flowers, compost tossed

Paths of dirt leading nowhere.

 

 

The Dingo Ate My Awe

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Dingo

THE DINGO ATE MY AWE

Lindy wailed heartache.

It was relentless, staining the air around the five of us. A friend had called into AFP dispatch, and me mates and I took the plunge. Dust was everywhere until it turned to gravel, and then rocks of increasing dimensions. An hour before dusk, we arrived at the hysterics. Even through closed windows, Lindy’s banshee keening shook me teeth. Brutal.

Her hubs, Michael, took me to the demolished campsite. We lifted the tent together, dripping from the bloody heat. Told Michael we were now sweat brothers. I laughed at me own stupid joke.  Stopped real quick; the poor sod was dripping tears and snot. “There, there” did not seem appropriate. I dug in me pocket, found the wad of Kleenex the Mrs. always shoved in my pants pocket after pressing. I tossed it to him. He wasn’t ready.

The wind had been picking up; Rod said it smelled of rain when we first got here. Just what we bloody needed. The dry chinook rolled around us. The wad of Kleenex gave up five to the wind. They flew around us like a cat burying shit. A strong gust and the rest joined their brethren. Gymnastics, in white.  It was like that bloody scene in that bloody boring movie. The one they spent so much time filming a plastic bag spinning. Bloody Drongo director.

Tent up, the blood was in little puddles around the floor. Sticky. Bedsheets, what was an onesie, all in shreds. I took pictures, asked me questions, the big one went unanswered: “why weren’t either bleeding one of you with the babe?” Now, I know many think coppers are all galah. Hell, many of them do have their heads up their arses. Mikey just hung his head, shook it around, and stayed quiet. No resistance as I cuffed him. Good. We walked back to the others.

Rod and Franny put both of them in the back of the wagon. Lindy was sobbing a creek, her hands equally cuffed. Michael turned his head away from her. Never said a word to her. He didn’t yell, didn’t plead, nothing. His silence was death; she roared out the Death Kneel.

I closed Michael’s door, making double sure he was locked tight. Franny had tried to talk the mum down. No luck. Fran locked the door, cutting the volume in half. I was getting the start of a headache. Didn’t need that at all with the long drive back.

The three of us moved away from them. We had a talk and a drag. Not Rod. Not a smoker, but can he put down the pints. We shared what info we had, scribbled note sunder the growing night; the sun began to fade away. Time to get back to the car and get out of here.

Typical sounds of central Oz pushed us along. I was more than ready to get home.

“A dingo? Really? A bloody dingo?” I could not believe this, shaking my head. “We got a ripe one,” I told the two.  “Dingos were vicious fucks, but…”

“Oi, where the hell did those growls come from?” Rod uttered. Last thing he ever said.

Three beasts ran toward him, lunging as one. Dingos. Bloody huge fucking Dingos. They ripped him apart. Legs. Chest. Head.  Only an instant. The hot blood flew everywhere. My mouth was hanging open, brain fritzing as I pulled out my handgun.

Franny screeched, wanting to help Rod, wanting to run. She did the Cha Cha of indecision, bolstered by the horror of it all.  She had enough to go for her handgun, but she fumbled it. Just as she bent to get her gun, I saw what was coming behind her. I started to warn Fran.

Too late. Words were taken by the massacre.

I fired at the two monsters who took Franny down. My gun was essentially useless. Their massive sizes. Tigers in Dingo attire. There was nothing I could do. I ran to the car.

As I got closer, I noticed both Michael and Lindy. They were staring at me with bulging eyes, their mouths moving in overdrive. Lindy looked off to the right side of me. Her throat cords straining to break free. Looking over my shoulder, one of the five, or maybe this was a visiting cousin who was late to the party, was lopping at its dinner. Me. I saw it coming; it leaped.

And I dropped to the dirt. Rolling on my back, I fired the rest of my gun as the Dinger went flying over. First one went through the bottom of its jaw. The rest went into beast’s underside.

It screeched as fell, the earth taking its own bite out of the beast.

I dashed for the car.

Now, I almost fumbled the car keys like Franny did with her gun. Almost. I dove in, starting her up, put it into gear, and floored the peddle. One beastie came at me head-on. I downshifted, speeding for his ugly snout. It was bumpy for a sec, but I hit him hard enough. He spun away. Didn’t look to see if he bit the dust or not. “HaH!” I laughed at myself again.

Next moment we got tag teamed, ramming into the back right. The door bent in a bit from one; the window cracked into a mosaic but held. Michael was the one caterwauling now. Lindy was out. Blood streaks on her side, her head lolled.

Nothing I could except ram my foot so hard on the gas pedal. The pistons had to keep up with me.

They weren’t chasing us. Not after the two head-butted the car. The radio still worked. I just needed time to stop hyperventilating. And calm the jackhammer ruling my heart. Finally did. Gave the short version just before I was purged of any ounce of adrenaline.

The AFP had the location. They called in the big yahoos to take care of the demon Dingos. Good luck to them. All I wanted was to drop the two in the back off, give a thorough but quick retelling, and beat a hasty retreat home. I could do the paperwork at home. My say so. Chief took it ok. She wanted to send me to the med, but I declined. Pretty firmly, too.

When I got home my wife took one look at me and came in for a hug before I closed the front door. She wouldn’t let me go. I didn’t want to be let go. My aroma broke the spell. She shooed me upstairs for a cleanup. Fresh clothing waited on our bed, everything warm from a pressing.

Feeling somewhat proper, I went down to kiss that woman with all I had. Two steps before the bottom, I felt something in my pants pocket. I patted the wad under the fabric and hit the floor landing for that kiss.

∞ ∞ ∞ ∞ ∞ ∞ ∞

Author’s Note:

I organized a new Writers Group: DAYDREAMERS WRITE!: Prompts & Challenges.

  • It runs every Saturday morning from 10:00 am to Noon, EST. 
  •      No matter the level a writer you think you are, all are welcome. 

The two hours are split:

  1. 10 to 11 is the first prompt.

  2. At Eleven: Another prompt WITH a challenge. It changes every week. 

  3. Both Sessions: 25 mins to write;  30-35 mins for Sharing & feedback

Most likely this group will remain in the Virtual World Community. 

Click on the above link if you would like to join in. Everyone is welcome. 

Stu

The above story was from a prompt: The _____ ate my ______

I used an Animal Generator for the first blank; A different one that gave me Awe.

 

RUN!

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RUN

© Vlad Gedroics

RUN!

SHE SAID RUN!

Shaking her head

Still,

SHE SAID RUN!

Her masking smile appeared

Magnitudinal weight dragging

As she

Felt her threads snarl and unravel

SHE THOUGHT RUN!

Tasting it.

Nibbling her way through

Dancing circles around

What

Gripped her and held.

SHE RUMINATED RUN!

Expanded

Drew in

Attempts

Withdrew

She

Escaped

SHE YELLED RUN!

 Keeping the pressure

Stoked inside

Flowing past self-built walls

Ripping away constraints

SHE YELLED RUN!

Running

Forward

Running

Freely

Running

Powerfully

Running

Until

She no longer had to.

She sings RUN!

As she

Passes the baton along.

 

⊇⊆ ⊇⊆ ⊇⊆ ⊇ ⊆ ⊇⊇⊆

Author’s Note:

I organized a new Writers Group: DAYDREAMERS WRITE!: Prompts & Challenges.

It runs every Saturday morning from 10:00 am to Noon, EST. 

No matter the level a writer you think you are, all are welcome. 

The two hours are split:

  1. 10 to 11 is the first prompt.

  2. At Noon: Another prompt WITH a challenge. It changes every week. 

  3. Both Sessions: 25 mins to write;  30-35 mins for Sharing & feedback

The above poem was the first prompt on Saturday, August 8, 2020

Most likely this group will remain in the Virtual World Community. 

Click on the above link if you would like to join in. Everyone is welcome. 

Stu