Tag Archives: communications

The Brother Spectrum

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Night, a dark room,  twin beds on opposite walls.

“William. William. William…when I die, will I still look out for you? William? I know I’ll be in heaven. How far is heaven, William? How far is heaven? William? William?  When I die, will I still look out for you?”

William lay awake on his back in his bed, a baseball cap clenched between his teeth. His open eyes stared into the darkness, his thoughts playing colors and sound, zig-zagging around.

Johnny beat his chest, bit his palm, said “William, when I die, will I still look out for you? William?”

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The above is a Drabble, a 100 word story. It was a prompt for the first day of the StoryADay challenge.

I have not been writing much at all, in fact it has been a chore at times, simply because of personal things I’ve been going through. I will attempt to do this: a story a day for the month of May. We’ll see how it all goes.

Any readers of mine know that I will write in any style that suits me. I hope to stretch a bit and get things moving again. Time will tell.

Chromatic Labyrinth

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Piano-Wallpaper-music-24173621-1280-800Carlo, Prince and Count, imagined his wife in bed with another man. Not just any man, but his friend, the Duke of Andria.  Carlo noticed the Duke’s eyes always found the figure of Donna Maria more than pleasing. He noticed this look too often from the Duke, and he felt that the looks were too often returned . While Donna Maria protested her innocence, Carlo knew, in his heart, that she had already betrayed him…and would continue, this most vile of betrayals.

Unless…

These thoughts assailed Carlo as he pushed himself to compose. Music was his life-he knew that-but it, too, betrayed him.  His madrigals were politely received in court but ultimately…they were misunderstood by most and dismissed, mostly behind his back, but oh, how gossip reaches even the most closed off of ears!

He locked himself in his music room, the only living space he would occupy until he had finished this composition. Receiving food intermittently from his servant,  barely touching any of it, Carlo would not lie down to sleep, only dozing at his piano.  Nothing came out of his demand on the keys, tinkering, chords splitting into discordance instead of magnificence. Four days, and his mind wandered away from the task he set for himself.

Exhausted and light headed, it was on the latter part of the fourth day (although that was later told to him, as time had lost all meaning to him inside his cell) that the visions came. Donna Maria, nude, appeared to him. He stared across the room where she stood, and all his feelings for her rose to a grand level: lust, hatred, love, agony, pain, ecstasy…and rage. Word-paintings came to him. She sprawled, ever  so close, just beyond his reach. He used the keys of his instrument as knives, slashing down, sliding, pounding down until his fingers nails cracked and broke, leaving droplets of red on the ivory.

During all this, Donna Maria cavorted around the piano. She laughed in his face, touching herself, gliding across the room, behind him, leaping over or crawling under his piano. She would reach out to him, then pull away, her long black hair fanning out over the keyboard where he would try to grab a hold, only to have it whisked away. She twirled, and he played, and lost himself in his fury.

Every path he took drew him in deeper. He would sidle into a melody that would change, taking him in a new direction: most of them ending in a frustrating blockage, where he would only be able to retrace what he did, and go another way. And another. And another. Lost, in a place where meter and structure had no more sense, no meaning, and left him more desperate with each stroke of the keys.

Carlo was later told he unbarred the lock on his room and flung himself into the main foyer. Glassy eyed, he stalked past his ever waiting servant. Down the hall he  went, banging open the door to the armory, coming out with a saber in one hand and a gun in the other. The servant tried to talk to his master but was gutted, as witnessed by one of the maids who had come out to the main hall at the noise being made.

Cowering behind one of the marble columns, the maid heard her master rush up the stairs, a door bang open, and then another series of bangs as the gun went off, and screams from her mistress. She recounted that she heard sharp swishing noises, too many to count, her mistress’s cries loud and piercing, then fading, and then nothing.

Someone had summoned the constables, and the Sargent Major, known to all as a stable and strong man, could not report what he witnessed without feeling ill for quite awhile. Yes, he had seen battlefields, but the frenzy of the Count was like unto a butcher’s den. The Countess Donna Maria, and the Duke of Andria…

Carlo, Prince and Count, would stand trial for what he had done, but, in the end, he was freed. Money and ranking took care of that. He exiled himself from the city, trying to leave blood feuds and vendettas behind him. He withdrew more into his music, more into himself, and while he was lost in a complex labyrinth of creative madness, he composed.

And Donna Maria…she twirled around him for a very, very long time.

“What Will The Tree Be?” a picture book (repost)

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“What will this grow up to be?”
Sarah asked with a smile.
“Will it grow big and strong?
Will it take a long while?”
 
 
 
 
 
If I hold it in my hand, and show it the sun
Will it grow a lot of feet and run, run, run?
If the soil is soft and the roots are fed with dew
Will it grow up and play a harmonica or kazoo?
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
If I put it in a pot, will it grow this way and that?
Would it grow up to be happy, small and trim, not fat?
If was sitting there, alone on a table
Would it pine for something more, if it was able?
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
I know, I know…it will have lots of friends
They will grow up all together
In this garden that I’ll tend.
 
They sing all day, and rest all night
I’ll keep them close by
They’ll never leave my sight.
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
But…
If it was stolen by a big old UFO,
Would it grow up weird and have an orange glow?
If it was moving and mooing and calling out my name,
Would my tree ever really REALLY be the same?
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
Or…
If it was hit all over by some outer space like rays
Would it grow all big and furry, and refuse to play?
If it had one gazillion branches, and twice as many leaves
Would grandma have to knit a sweater with all those sleeves?
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
If it grows up really big and really strong
Would it live a good life, nothing with it wrong?
If it stood way up high above the ground
Would you be able to sit atop it and see all around?
 
 
 
 
 
 
I love my little tree
And I know it loves me
I wonder when it grows up
What exactly will it be.
 
 
I love my little tree.
 
 
 
 

Papers of Pain

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Amidst the debris of clutter, among the years of things piled upon, chaotic shoving in of spaces, of things of little to no importance due to the distance of time, papers of pain were uncovered. A history unfolded in short passages, messages, of people passed on, most forgotten or unknown to the one riffling through the quagmire of emotions that the refuse brings.

Losing one’s parents is hard enough; uncovering aspects of them that you only thought you knew becomes the harder part to take in.

“Please forgive me…” began way too many letters, or messages in holiday/birthday cards, found among the leavings. Reading what he did was painful enough, so Bill only skimmed along, tossing, tossing, tossing…keeping a short pile that he knew he would confront at another time. Not now, not so soon, and maybe…maybe never.  Private thoughts that now are laid bare, never for his eyes in the first place. He thought: Do I have the right/need to know any of this?

Short words of “Love,…,” saying so little, punctuated by messages that left messages of hope and caring, of hurt, pain, and an end to suffering. Is that how they lived for so long, Bill thought, even as he knew the answer. He hoped to escape the yelling, the push and pull games, the neediness from such a young age, and he ran out as fast as he could when he was younger. He knew, though, he could not just abandon, for their world crashed down upon them, and with that crashing he became one of the broken pieces, held together with glue and tape, shattered enough, strong enough. At times.

And then…then, buried snatches of the other. There were the messages of love he now found. They were concealed among the many non-meaning platitudes. They were not long, snippets only, words of caring, of hope, of praise, of cleansing. Bill read these, everyone of them, in full, sometimes again and again. He weighed these few against the pile of pain, and while his own heart was heavy, his chest tight, his stomach roiling…he weighed the messages of love against those of suffering.

Shaking his head to clear the conflict inside, Bill put them all together in one bag, sealing it for now. They could lay still and silent, or battle amongst themselves in the bag.  He held his parents in his hands, their words, their wounds,  and their care and concern for each other. It was one weight, one mass, and he felt it was equal, balanced enough, as he carried it away with him.

Yesterday, Memories (non-fiction)

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In Memory
1926-2012

My mother passed away on October 14th, 2012. One major reason I haven’t been writing, or that my meager attempts have been sombre. My father died on October 15th, 1999, which has still sent shivers through me, that they parted this earth one calendar day apart (although thirteen years passed).

It’s Halloween, a holiday she did enjoy, seeing all the children in their costumes, playing like she was afraid of the “scary” ones, cooing over the very cute tots and babies coming out for their first Trick or Treating, and giving out bags of candy (each bag had to be the same, piece by piece, number by number, so she felt no child felt cheated).  It’s been one of my favorite holidays as well…not so much this year.

She was “known” in our family as the “family historian,” being able to recall all the family stories, connections, etc. This she did orally, rarely writing anything down. Which is a shame: those stories now only reside in the memories of those who listened, and if we don’t write them down, they’ll be gone.

I did find her beginning attempts to write some of the history down, colored through her lens. I’m posting it here where I normally write my own fiction. Not sure when/if I’ll really come back to this blog with any real attention. I hope you enjoy her early memories.

Yesterday, Memories…by

Edith A. Nager: 1926-2012

(1)          My mother and father met and married in Odessa, Russia. Papa had served in the Russian Army for five years and then was discharged. I have a picture of him in his uniform. He was quite dashing. He came to America first and then sent for my mother. This was before the First World War

(2)          The day I was born my father declared it a holiday. He kept my three oldest brothers home from school. The other two were too young for school. There were five boys and now me. The truant officer came to the house and asked why they were home, and Papa said: “After five boys, a girl was born!” That fine gentleman stayed and helped Papa celebrate.

                Mama said, and I quote her: “This is it! If it’s another boy, no more!” Papa ran through the building knocking on doors to tell them the good news. He finally had a daughter.

 

(3)          Saturdays, my mother did not cook. Papa said it was Mama’s time off. He went to the kosher deli and bought Pastrami, Corned Beef, Specials (knockwursts), Salami, Knobelwurst (very garlicky salami), and rye bread. The mustard came in paper cones. Oh my, how delicious it all was. Mama made the potato salad.

                Saturday evening after sundown was the time to turn on the radio and listen to station WEVD. It was Jewish music and singing. It was OK, but Sunday morning was better. Same station, but it was all about “Troubles of People” and “The Bintel Brief,” as well as more music and singing.

                The “Troubles of People” were some of the saddest tales you could hear. Husbands came to the Promised Land first and became Americanized. They met other women, forgetting about the wives and children back home. Sometimes it was a three hankie story.

 

(4)          Sunday brunch was out of this world. Bagels, bialys, pumpernickel bread, sweet butter, cream cheese, Muenster & farmer cheese; Belly lox, a large smoked white fish, and pickled herring in cream sauce with onions. Of course, a large salad: lettuce, tomato, cucumber, radishes and green pepper. We ate and talked. Everyone showed up for this feast. My brothers: Lou, Phil, Ezra, Sam, Bernie and me…and of course, Mama and Papa.

 

(5)          My brother Bernie gave me a lot of grief. He was the youngest of the boys. He used to tell me I smelled like a flower: it was called a stink weed. One day, he came home from school and went to the medicine cabinet. He took out a box of Feenamint. He got a box of Chicklet’s Gum and replaced it with the laxative. Some of the boys in school were giving him a hard time, so he got even. They never bothered him again. We gave him a new name: we called him “Dr. Fleckel.”

 

(6)          Walking with a group of girls and boys along the Gran Concourse to Fordham Road you could window shop. The stores stayed open till 9:00 p.m. We went to Rushmyers on University Avenue for Ice Cream in the summer and hot chocolate in the winter. We’d also go to 161st Street to Addie Valin’s and the Roxey Deli.

                Trolley cars in the summer, the sides were heavy metal mesh so you would feel cool. It cost five cents each way and some of us would take a ride in the evening. We went all the way to Throgs Neck and back. This was before A.C.

Silence, Leading To…

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For fear

Aspects of  horror to hear

Words that one refuses oneself

Does not still the malignancy that eats away

eats away

eats

Until what is left is nothing.

For fear

Leading to silence

Leaping from silence

Causes a deepening hole

That can’t be crawled out of.

Silence, Leading To

Leading

To

A hole.

No one else can listen to that silence

They can infer

Observe

Walk away

Brush off

But, the silence widens

engulfs

implodes

Leading to…

If I Had…

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If I had everything

I thought I needed

Would I still want?

If the basics were in place

Would there need to be more?

Or, with the needs abated,

Would a new want rear its head,

Taking on a raging, pulsating pull?

I don’t have what I truly need

I really only want what I need

If I had it…them…

Would things finally be enough?

If I hadn’t wished for a certain freedom

That, when it came, left more locks,

Would I still want that freedom?

Yes, yes yes…but not in the way it came.

This is a twisted knot

Of my own doing

If I had

a choice

If I had

 

Smiling Woman

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She could no longer hear no evil
She could no longer see no evil
But speak evil…
Oh, yes…she could.
With her razor sharp tongue
And smug, upturned nose;
With bent spine, clawed hands jagged and rough
Her mouth could still speak the hurtful:
Kindness…not in her vocabulary.
Her taunts, her chides, her demeaning sneering snarls
Oh, they bit, they bite, they take chunks out of you!
There is no chance that she’ll see how she wounds
How it effects those in her path
No chance she’ll hear, or listen to, the “please…no more!”
Hers is a voice without pity, speaking evil…
Her cheeks bloom, rosy, when she finally smiles.
 
 

See Her

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Chasing Rainbow By Judy Underwood

See her

Fun is first nature

Wonderment and exploration

Dancing, twirling, laughing, tripping

See her

She won’t always be this way

Relish in what she delights in

What she marvels at

What she runs to grasp

See her

Keep this image in your heart

Share in it

Join in

Reclaim it yourself

See yourself

Chase a rainbow bubble

 

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Prompt from Bluebell Books

Thursday Flash Fiction Week 28: Innocence and Dream: Please write a poem, a prose, or a short story inspired by the image provided above

I’ve done their prompts before. Hope you enjoy.

Thirty Miles

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No matter what you want
Where to go
Where to rest
It’s thirty miles
That never ends.
 
The fog lays across
Even the brightest day
Obscuring the sights
All one, in the end,
All one.
Thirty miles still to go
Thirty miles
 
So why not stay where the tension lies?
The shouting barked at your back
Not respected nor needs met
With distressing sharp looks
With no one listening
With only loud, loud, loud
 
Yet you laugh
She laughs
At what is wrought;
Shake your head at some distant thought
The cut off point has come and gone
Thirty miles shouldn’t take so long.
 
Thirty miles to drive you on
Another thirty after that
Driven on, driven on
Thirty miles of fog