(The following is an excerpt from a longer work.)
I’ve been in the shower so long my fingers are wrinkled, but I’m too mad to turn off the water. Mixing with my hot tears, it swirls down the drain along with my supposedly happy life.
My stomach hurts as I sob, quiet moans punctuated with wails of anguish as the thought of each new consequence crosses my mind.
“What did I do?” I say over and over rocking back and forth trying anything to comfort myself. I have never felt so wretched, alone, and discarded.
I didn’t take my clothes off when I got in. I just needed to get clean. To cleanse myself of I don’t know what, Shame? Betrayal? None of this makes any sense, except that it’s not fair.
I glance towards the hall. The divorce papers that came earlier are now strewn on the hall floor. I didn’t get past the first page. I dropped them like they were covered with shit. They might as well be, because that’s how I feel, the victim of an ambush. A shitty heartless one. Continue reading “The trophy wife: A jilted wife’s revenge”
The following is an excerpt from a longer work called Angel of Aleppo, a Story of the Armenian Genocide
Aleppo, January, 1916
I came south, by way of Cemesgerik. After a week, it felt like I had been on the run all my life. That was last year, around May. There was no warning at all. One day the soldiers were there, shouting at us, carrying off the prettiest girls, stealing everything.
They hung all the men of our village in front of us. We had to stand in the square and watch as the soldiers strung them up, one group after the next. Women were crying, tearing out their hair, scratching their faces. The soldiers shot the loudest of them where they stood. When the smoke cleared, my aunts lay dead and my mother was nowhere to be seen.
They came to our house and I ran out back to the house next door. I hid behind the vines and watched as a soldier came to that house and told the mother there he was taking the oldest daughter. Our neighbour had the little sister and brother hiding under her apron. The soldier pulled at the older girl’s hand. Her mama clung to her other hand, crying, screaming.
I was taught that God had a plan for all of us. Was this a part of God’s plan? Continue reading “Haykuhi’s story”
At one time, when Oregon was just a square on a map to me, I thought of the state as a vast green forest dotted with small towns inhabited by hardy men in hunting plaids and plump women wearing aprons. That was when I lived in southern California, a mythical place that might make one think after a while that the rest of the world is hopelessly outdated and overweight. But that’s another story.
In 1983 I prepared to have my preconceptions verified when we visited Oregon for the first time. It was December, and so at Shasta City we encountered snow. Isn’t this exciting? I thought as I concentrated on keeping the car solidly in the slow lane. When we came to the town mysteriously named Weed, it was with a mixture of trepidation and relief that we left the relative comfort and reliability of the Interstate for the unknown domain of a state highway that promised to deliver us to our southern Oregon destination. Coming from Los Angeles, I’d almost forgotten such two-lane highways existed. In southern California even city streets are often four-lane thoroughfares, or at least the constant hum of traffic gives that impression. Visiting Oregon for the first time, I learned all over again why songwriters have so often extolled the virtues of country roads. You really do feel as if you’re being taken home. Continue reading “A road well traveled: Taking the road is better than just reading about it”
How could you do this to my soul, my heart,
And reject this poem, brimming with art?
I wrote it long ago when I was so young
And now it gushes, or is it too long?
This poem I reworked so many times!
As I sat myself down to start to revise
I worked so hard, and I did my best!
But I say uncle, I must acquiesce.
I hang down my head, again I begin,
I’ll revise as you wish and send out again.
By Joan E. Cashin
Lu Buwei, Lord Wen Xin, ex-prime minister of the realm, retired merchant, and birthfather of the king sat in the ornate pavilion in the middle of a large hourglass-shaped lily pond. His position provided a serene vista of the manicured flower garden, the small manmade hill and the rippling waters of the coy filled pond. Peace reigned in the placid surrounding, a sharp contrast to his inner turmoil.
The idyllic surrounding used to provide relief from the rigors of the affairs of the state. Now it was a painful reminder of his past glory. But what was he to do? For a man used to running the affairs of a great kingdom, whose mere sneer sent men trembling in fear, he was bored to the edge of insanity. He wanted to remain significant, to be in charge, and to feel the sensations of power and influence. He tried to manage his own household, but soon realized the irrelevant issues of the manor mundane. Besides, his staff did a better job without him getting in their ways.
He missed the excitement, the heart-pounding rush of a major political coup; surprisingly, he even missed the intricacies of court intrigue. If he thought there was a possibility of a recall to the court, he would be on his knees and begging for the opportunity; but he knew the king jealously guarded his power, and would not willingly summon him, the Royal Uncle, to the court. Because, the malicious rumor regarding the king’s lineage could resurface to undermine his authority; however, while one lived there always was hope. Continue reading “The omen”
Sam sat down, wishing she could disappear. Sighing, she tightened her scarf around her neck, a force of habit, and decided that Tony’s funeral was perhaps the one place where she couldn’t avoid talking to people—playing the grieving wife, on the other hand, would be more appreciable.
She saw the guests approaching, beginning with Mrs Gonzales, their sixty-five year old neighbor who hosted barbeques every Sunday; Emmett Hanson, Tony’s roommate in college and lastly, Greg Jackson, his partner at the NYPD. She still remembered the day when Tony had, for the first time in three years, allowed an outsider into their home. Greg, sweet Greg, as a symbol of gratitude, had brought a set of cutlery, somehow, having noticed the fact that Sam loved to cook. The set had included six plates and bowls, a ladle, several spoons and a knife and was heavily decorated with intricate oriental patterns, carrying a green colour.
Approaching the coffin, Greg glanced back at Sam, his eyes holding an emotion that didn’t quite border on sympathy for a grieving wife.
Instinctively, Sam tightened her scarf as Greg took a seat behind her. The priest began his sermon by stating how nice of a young man Tony was and what a shame it was that he lost his life—in the most brutal way—a swift cut to his neck; he stood no chance. Continue reading “Justice”
(The following is an excerpt from a longer work.)
Children who grew up on military bases are called Army brats. Asylum brats were those few of us who grew up on the grounds of state insane asylums where our parents, who worked there, had housing provided by the state. We weren’t shoved from base to base, state to state, country to country, so we couldn’t claim we didn’t put down roots. Instead, we were buffeted between the bizarre personalities among whom we lived, if we chose to know the lives of those mostly benign inmates — excuse me, patients — from whose lunacy our parents earned their livings.
My sister, Sally, ignored them. Not me. I got into trouble early in my life by making the acquaintance of so many of those twisted souls. My mother almost had had a heart attack when I wandered away at the age of four and showed up back at her door holding the hand of a huge man who wasn’t insane, just retarded. He had had the good sense to bring me home before I had gone too far away. For his good deed he was screamed at by my mother, who called the campus police, who hauled him away, tears streaming down his big, uncomprehending face. Continue reading “Crazy about you”
The virus had the entire community quarantined for so long, relationships were strained, to say the least. Couples married for 50 years and more were finding out that they didn’t get along so well now, or hadn’t gotten along well for quite some time.
With all activities canceled, staying home became a prison; all-be-it, a comfortable one. —The TV was working, cell phones were working, and yard work was always in need of attention. Thank God for the computer and the internet. In time, food became a problem. The monotony of eating the same foods, in the same surroundings, with the same person, 24/7, began to take its toll.
After months, when the virus had run its course, it became clear what had been happening behind closed doors—Those who emerged into the new day, had gained an exorbitant amount of weight. Their mates, however, did not emerge fat or thin. In fact, they didn’t emerge at all.
The pre-virus, town population of 6,000 had shrunk to approximately 3,000 inhabitants. These fewer, but fatter, people were a glaring testimony to what had happened. The survivors pooled their culinary knowledge, and put together an anthology entitled: “How to Serve Your Fellow Man”.
By Don Lubov
gallivantriloquism\portmanteau of gallivant and ventriloquist\noun
- The habit or state of wandering from one virtual or imaginary place to another by means of mediated travel anecdotes or experiences of others, without actual contact with the geographies in question.*
I suppose being there is two times the fun. Or five times. Even ten. But when it comes to travel, nowadays cyberspace is bringing the mountains, the glaciers, the deserts, the tourist attractions, and detailed street views of the world’s largest metropolises to us. Very few places are untouched by it. Very few that can’t be seen and read about by typing a few terms in the Google search bar. The virtual tour of Iceland I recently made on my iMac to prepare for an actual trip there was so informative, the amount of information available to access so comprehensive, it was exhaustive. Scrolling through the sites, I couldn’t help recalling my first trips abroad with out-of-date guidebooks and handwritten recommendations from friends, and friends of friends, and then touching down onto an amazing land and getting around it just fine. Now Iceland is a small, sparsely populated landmass between Greenland and Norway. Continue reading “Word of the day: Gallivantriloquism”
(thank you to Rickie Lee Jones)
isn’t linear. A convoluting helix, its
taffy twists swirl: a tornado’s central
nucleus. There is stillness within
movement & DNA reeling into
all of our lives…
What’s that rappin’at your window,
pullin’ at your shirt tails,
sittin’ in your closet?
Open jars, sift through envelopes,
stretch forth, an antennae—–
Pulses tunnel chasms. Resigned rings well
as they were meant to: moments, sea spray,
falling here, falling there…
Time breaks gravity, suspends destiny,
& flies on out.
By Stephen Mead