Tag Archives: hatred

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.

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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.
 
 

A to Z: The Complete Swan Rise Series

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Open House: Trespassers Welcome

Swan Rise Apartments went out like an exploding lamb; it came in like a sleeping lion… but the building, and its inhabitants, did not always remain so. They lived lives that were hungry, playful, sleepy, lusty, fearful, agitated and on the prowl; they reared their young, and did what they needed to survive in this vertical village.

Welcome to… Swan Rise Apartments

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…and so, the story unfolds. 26 interlocking stories set in the world of Swan Rise Apartments, all written for the A to Z Challenge that ran throughout April 2012.

You’ll find links to all the stories below; each one stands alone, but many have roots and connections in other chapters.  As a whole, it tells a story of the lives that swirl around apartment building life.

Each Sunday, I’ll re-post these links in case you missed any and for your ease in finding them.

The stories will remain up only for the month of May. As of June 1st, I will be taking all of the stories down from Tale Spinning so I can work on a larger second draft of the work. Some of the earlier pieces need fleshing out, and discoveries I made along the way need their roots dug deeply in the beginnings.

May 30th will be your last chance to read, and comment, on these stories. Hopefully, you’ll eventually hold an expanded version in your hands.

Comments are always welcome no matter when you read the story.

Week #1: A to G

All, Tumbling Down

Basement Boogie

Children in the Hall

Doggie Doings

Equivocation Elite

Fire(escape)

Ground, Breaking

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Week #2: H to M

Holidays, Haunts and Hearts

Imaginings of Love

Jung, @Heart

Kindred Spheres

Laundry Room Mafia

Mrs. Beatty

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Week #3: N to S

Not What They Seem

One Man’s Ceiling…

Pollination in the Parking Lot

Quack, Quack

Retraction of Gravity

Super, My Super

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Week #4: T to Z

Thieving Ways

Underneath It All

Vertically Challenged

Weather Man, Oh

Xanthippe

Yeah…Life Goes On…

Zenith: Arising

Impressions of Perfect Fifths

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Marc Chagall

His hands played along the surface of the violin, tracing the patterns worn into the wood. Slight depressions,  imprintings of someone’s fingering, their palm, chin, sweat. Empty of catgut, Avram, the luthier, caressed and stroked the violin that was given unto his care for restoration. He closed his eyes, held the violin to his nose, and breathed in its history.

The drawing of the horsehair bow that had slid along the strings left intermittent grooves in the wood. They showed where a well loved piece was played,  how the violinist drew against the grain of the violin itself. Clumsy or a style, it was all the same to Avram: this was a well loved instrument, that was apparent, and it would become one again.

He noticed the nicks, the dimples in the varnish, the grain of the wood, the stains not readily perceived, but there. There was a very slight crack near the base of the right F-hole, the chinrest needing to be replaced, a refastening of the tailpiece and scroll. Sitting on his wooden stool, Avram kept the violin out of direct sunlight, a strain for his eyes but a blessing for the instrument.

The tuning pegs were worn down, without sheen. Avram could tell that the strings had been replaced, often, their lifespan given to the music: either no longer playing true, losing the desired tone, or snapping in the frenzy of the player.  That did not matter to Avram. He would eventually make a new marriage, adding the G first, then the D, followed by the A and E. He would attach them at the base, up the bridge, along the neck and finally connect them all to the pegbox. All would then be tuned, in harmony, restored.

This though, was still a ways to come. All in due time…

Eventually, time for music to be lifted out and carried, vibrating its musical message to others. Time for this violin to find new hands, a new lover, to be held towards and against the player, to communicate and be in tune once again.

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Author’s Note:

I was given a newspaper article by my SO about Violins of Hope, a project of restored violins that had a history of pain: they came from musicians who “experienced” the horrors of the Holocaust. There was a concert in Charlotte, NC in April 2012. The violins are now back in Israel.

This immediately got my writing gears in motion: I have plotted out titles of chapters, an outline, for what I will be working on next. I plan to get a first draft done of all this while it is still “hot” for me; then, in June, I’ll put this aside and start working on the second draft of the Swan Rise stories.

This was just to whet your whistle. I will NOT be posting any of my Violin stories on Tale Spinning after this: I want it to be marketable for an agent/publisher, if worthy. I WILL be looking for readers along the way, to form a small core group, maybe our own writers group, so if you’re interested, please EMAIL me (please don’t post it here: my email can be located on the right sidebar).

As to Tale Spinning: I’ll be dropping some pieces here and there throughout May, as the story comes to me or I find a fun prompt that inspires. Please check out my backlog of past pieces; there is a lot here, and if you’re new, well…then they’ll be new to you as well.

Remember: comments are always welcome.

My Worst Mistake

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Before I write whatever I’m going to write, please head on over to Roy Durham’s Roy’s Garage Sell and Auction Well. Roy is a real nice gentleman, a true cowboy, and due to an upcoming surgery he asked for some guest posts to help him out. I was more than happy to oblige. Stop by for my very short story “Roses Are…” and wish the good man some good thoughts and wishes. Yeee Haa, Roy!

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You were my worst mistake
And funny how that goes
You also gave me the best things I ever had
Since we first met, since we did part
There is an aching in my heart
For what we had, I’ll never know
What is true or memory born
I’d wish we’d had the chance
Make some good memories last.
 
I put you in a cage
You did the same, but locked my door
We flew against the bars and bled
Never letting the other quite free.
Some say we should not have met
Most say we should not have wed
With most of them, I do agree
You were the worst mistake I ever made.
 
I was the worst for you as well
There was nothing; it should have been farewell
When we first met, that darkest day
I find that all my life untold
What would it been if we had not met.
 
So stay away, forever more
Never knock on my front door
We do not have to face again
The cage is forever open at last
For both of us, our paths apart
Have so healed my heart
If I never see you again
I’ll always remember you
My worst mistake.

 

 
 

Sonnet: Shut The F**K Up

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What do you do when you just talk, talk, talk

All In the end you  have nothing to say!

You spout such nonsense; Just so you can squawk

Don’t you know your mouth just gets in the way?

There is no dialogue; You’re right-I’m wrong.

Your superiority complex reeks

You come off weak instead of being strong

It is not true discourse that you so seek!

But, imagine if your voice spoke so true

And your hearing was equal to the task

Disagreement is not how to argue

For new Points of View, you just have to ask.

Talking just to prove you’re right is so wrong

Done this way, we will never get along.

Only God Knows

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The train ride to the camp.

Imagine: it is winter and we’ve been left with very little. No Food. No Water. The clothes on our backs.  We are shoved into an unheated cattle car; its side’s are not solid but open slats, so the wind whistles through, and the only warmth we get comes from the bodies pressed against us. We are shoved in with enough people so that we can barely breathe, let alone sit or move.

We have no food or water on the first day. Maybe one loaf of bread or two is tossed into the car on the second day; and still no water. If we are shoved against one of the walls it is a good thing, because we can at least scoop some of the falling snow. As it melts in the mouth it keeps us alive while others around us die. The Nazi guards yell to those alive to toss out the bodies, the few times the train stops.

With less and less people in the car…you can finally sit or you can lie down and we are sad and glad and numb all at the same time. The fear is ever present and if it seems like hell is here then yes, you are right. It is.

Finally, the train ride stops…for the last time. Everyone is herded off the car. Everyone is relieved of whatever possessions they have left. Everyone is sectioned off, split into three groups: the women, the men, and then the third group which comprised the elderly, the infirmed and the children. They went in, to die. Whether they knew this or not, I can not say. The only thing I know is that my father wound up on the line of men that didn’t.

They were led to where their clothing was taken away. They were hosed down and deloused, all bodily hair shaved off.

Dehumanized.

Thus began their nightmare of existence in Auschwitz.

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The above is a section from my play “everywhere I look…” I posted the song that I wrote that started the whole ten year journey of writing here. This part, the train ride, is a re-imagined, but true, story that my father told me. So, yes, whatever horror might be in your mind is from reality by way of some artistic license. The details, sad to say, are real.

My father was in Auschwitz and had the tattoo to prove it. What most people don’t know is that tattooing of the prisoners was specific to Auschwitz, not all the concentration camps. My dad was in Auschwitz II (Auschwitz-Birkenau). He was there for THREE YEARS. I only know some of what went on during that time period.

He escaped on the Death March, with the man who essentially saved his life.   That is a story unto itself and is a part of my play, as is the song and the train piece.

The pic to the right is of my dad, after the American Liberation. We don’t know how much longer, but it had to be substantial in that his hair was back and he looks healthy and well fed in this photo. He worked, at this point, as a translator and driver for an American general. Due to the three years in the camps, he spoke six or seven languages.

Why did this all happen?

Only God knows.

If you’re interested in bookings, or can pass this onto a location (College; High School; Theater; etc),  please contact me at stuart.nager@gmail.com.

Can’t Bleed No More *updated

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You took my hand
You took my mate
I was used by all
Now just full of hate
Won’t bleed no more
Can’t bleed no more
I bleed for me
I bleed for my
 
I can not cry
No outside tears
I look away
While you destroy
I bleed for my
I bleed for me
I bleed for my
I bleed no more
 
You can not take
From me no more
You tore and rent
My soul is gone
I bleed for my
I bleed for my
I bleed for me
I bleed no more
 
Ground into the dark dirt
Ground into the mud
Ground down by the boot heels
Ground down in blood
 
Ground into the nothing
Ground into the sky
Ground down by the awful cries
Ground down in blood
 
You took my hand
You took my mate
I was used by all
Now just full of hate
Won’t bleed no more
Can’t bleed no more
Can’t bleed no more
Can’t bleed no more
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“Female Indian” (2006)    Artist: Sam Durant (c)

I did not expect the amount of commentary (on here and private conversations) that I have received on this poem/song lyrics.

Yes, song lyrics. While I was writing this, I heard EmmyLou Harris in my head singing this, her particular phrasing and voice was a part of this creation, so Thank You EmmyLou.

For those interested in how I create, I saw this work of art at The Bronx Museum.  I was going to be performing there, and I knew one of the things they liked was for the storyteller to find a piece of artwork that spoke to them, to tell in front of. I kept being drawn back to “Femail Indian” but had no story to tell…at the time.

I had this for awhile now. The poem just came to me really late at night when I was thinking about the piece: the look she has, the missing hand, the abused nature of her arms, the naked torso. I wrote from the picture, trying to capture the feel of what I do know of the plight of Native Americans, and how I feel about it. Every artist leaves something of himself or herself in the work they create.

Whatever Kills You Makes You Dead

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Actual Warning: The Following Story Is NOT For The Squeamish!

Kim screamed, really, really loud. Her matted hair clogged in her mouth as the meat of her feet went fluid. Alkaline hydrolysis. Sixty pounds of PSI, a lye solution blasted into the stainless steel vat, and Kim was like a mountain range under eons of erosion. Except, this was happening at a very fast pace.

Her wailing echoed in the chamber, along with the clank clanking of the chains, manacled around her wrists. Held aloft and stretched, the soles of her feet had already turned to brown syrup. The white bones, exposed, were lost in the decomposing liquid. Liquids, as the lye mixed with her liquesced flesh.

Ankles next, and the crying faded to unconsciousness. The chains continued to clank a dirge for Kim as the lye hydrolyzed her tissues. Up and up it went. Bye Bye, as Kim went as well.

“Dissolve our Marriage?” he thought, laughed, and left.

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OK..this one was pretty gruesome. Even I have to admit it. I have been thinking along the lines of that kid that saw Winston’s true face way back in my WIP. I want to bring him back (as some had asked for at the time) and I have a particular story/novel idea on how to use him. This is one way. My writing this, now, actually came about from ANOTHER writing challenge.

Catrina Taylor of The Writing Network, created “The Killing Game.” The rules are:

Every writer needs to practice their craft. I’m going to schedule some unique methods for us to do just that. This one is inspired by a thread I was entertained by in one of my collaborative writing groups.

Here’s how it works: I’m going to write the death of someone. Likely the first person that comes to mind. You then take a moment in the comments and write the death of another person, perhaps an author or friend …. or even me.  The goal is to be descriptive and make the reader visualize what you are describing, in 150 words or less. (roughly one paragraph) In this case it would be the death of another person or a character.

So…this will not be everyone’s cup of tea. I had a few days of humorous postings, and then there is this. BTW…for those interested in influences, after I was done, it felt like, to me,  it could have been a missing section of “The Bone Collector.” Wasn’t intentional, but that was the connection I felt when I re-read it.  Not saying I’m in Deaver’s league, but…

OH…yeah…150 words on the nose!

A Shining Forth

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DEADSHESDEADDEADSHeisdeaddead…” Marnie, prostrate on Rebecca’s grave, despair so complete. I did nothing to help her, as I had done nothing when the bullet ripped through our child. I did nothing.

A month passes, and Marnie is still at her parent’s. She won’t talk to me. I don’t blame her. I could have ended that drunken bastard’s life, the picnic lunch splattered with Becky’s blood, dying in our arms. He went down with one punch, and I had his gun in my hand. All it would have taken…

The police screwed it up, four conflicting reports and misplaced evidence. Andy Selles got away with it. Got away with murdering my little girl. Eyes wild, waving that gun of his. Reckless, uncaring. Bastard.

“Marnie, I did nothing. I’m sorry, so sorry,” I say, to the phone on the table. I pick up the pad, with his name and address scrawled in fiery red ink. Checking my pocket, I head out.

At Selle’s house, it’s pouring, and I’m not sure if I can go through with it. He deserves it, oh Becky…oh…Marnie…he so deserves it. Tears race down my cheeks as my feet just move me around to the back of the bastards house. To the back door. It’s unlocked. Stupid, stupid bastard.

Entering the kitchen, it smells like a dive, stale cigarettes, stale beer, and piss. I want to vomit, mostly from the smell. As I make my way, tripping over some crap on the floor, the knife in my pocket is now in my right hand. They both shake in anticipatory fear. I feel sweat pouring out of me, running down my back, my chest, and I clench my teeth so they stop chattering.

The TV is on in the next room. Japanese voices? I peek around the door frame: Rashomon?  This bastard, this drunk bastard is defiling Kurosawa? Marnie…oh damn it…she loves this movie, made me love it too, falling in love with her as well that night.

Selle is on the floor. The contents of a bottle of Seagram’s is voiding on the floor. He must have just fallen over. The liquor drizzled to a stop,  it’s aroma mixing with the melange of putrid air.

The knife is vibrating in my fist. I want to drive it into his back, ripping and shredding him, like his bullet did to my little girl. Like it did to my marriage. On my knees now, and both of my hands are wrapped around the knife, my samurai sword, to deal the death this BASTARD deserves.

A baby’s cry startles me. The climatic scene from the movie. I watch as it unfolds. The priest, finally, has a reason to continue having hope in humanity, as the woodcutter takes the abandoned child, to bring up as his own.

I stand, taking a step back, kicking an empty pill bottle. Pills and Seagram’s.  I don’t do anything. I leave. It stopped raining. I call Marnie as I get in the car.

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Author’s Note: This is a story written from a prompt for #SaturdayShorts, a weekly writing contest I’ve entered, and won, before. The writers have until Saturday, June 11th, to post their stories. At noon (EST), entries are closed and a poll is posted, and you can vote for your favorite story up to 8pm that evening.

So, please visit LM Stull’s page at Between The Lines on Saturday, June 11th, 2011, between 12:00pm and 8:00pm, EST (East Coast American Time). I do want you and your friends to vote, but VOTE FOR YOUR FAVORITE STORY. If it’s other than mine, then so be it. I don’t like the American Idol style of voting blocs. I’d rather win for real merit of the story. I am very serious about that. May the best story win!

Thank you.