REVERBERATION, THE NOVEL, has a new cover.

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Posted in historical, historical fiction, historical novel | 15 Comments

“Climbing Salvation Mountain On The Balls Of My Feet”

 (Copyright: Joel Robison)
I walk the way with head held high
my feet on spheres for treads.
Self-confident, my step is sure
my fears rendered to shreds.

The dark times, though, bring fright to light
uncertainty to stride.
I slip and trip on rounded orbs
back down the path I slide.

In summary, my slogs are slow
some up, some down, some cease.
Lucky me, at the end of day
a good night’s sleep brings peace.

(Written for dVerse Poets, Poetics: Joel Robison’s Photography. August 19, 2014.)

Posted in Flash Fiction, Micro Fiction, Poetry, Short Fiction, Short Story | Tagged , , , , , , , | 10 Comments

“I Am Aquarius”

I was born to live by the sea
not on smooth sands
of condominiums and mansions
but on the rough bluffs
of fishermen’s cottages
and clamdiggers’ shacks.

My home is high on a cliff
where the scent of inland pine
weighs heavy
on the never-ending
salt-laden wind
and the panes of glass rattle
and the side boards creak
as the torrent forces its way inside
to ruffle papers being written
and pages of books being read
and the rain assaults with slanted fury
and the sun fries
your face and shoulders
when you step outside.

My home has sand on the floor
mold on the walls
and the air carries
the must and dust
of my seagoing ancestors.

When I return I will be at peace.

(Written for dVerse Poets,  Poetics: Homecoming. August 12, 2014.)

Posted in Flash Fiction, Micro Fiction, Poetry, Short Fiction, Short Story | Tagged , , , , , , , | 16 Comments

“Waiting for Orion”

Titan tall.
Six feet at ten
six three at twenty.

heliotrope blue.
spaghetti straight.
blond begonias.

of the Isles.

a coarse muslin
in a world
of silk.

for her

Written for dVerse Poets. Meeting the Bar: It’s a small, small world (40 words or less). August 5, 2014.

Posted in Flash Fiction, Micro Fiction, Poetry, Short Fiction, Short Story | Tagged , , , , , , , , | 18 Comments

“The Raven Croons”

The current challenge at dVerse Poetics is to write a poem which includes one or more of the following: obelix, a dragon, a crocodile, an old tractor, a bat, a spaceship, Neptune, Superman, a greek god or goddess, a chicken, a black swan, a nutcracker, a man who can’t stop clapping, a cup with orange flowers painted on it, a black cat, a dog with yellow teeth, a bluesman playing the saxophone, a violinist, Hänsel & Gretel, the ice queen, an old liquor bottle, a wheelbarrow, a needle in a haystack, a raven, a blue car, a metronome.

“The Raven Croons”

An obelisk from ancient times
Carved with dragon and crocodile
Lies flat on the back of an old tractor.

Neptune, sporting his seaweed slimes
Tells Amphitrite with a smile
“I come with obelisk, and love I swore.”

The blues man plays the saxophone
While violinist serenades
The ice queen and her deep-sea paramour.

The black cat sways to metronome
The dog with yellow teeth parades
While the raven croons “Never-nevermore”

(An extra challenge is to tell about an old man, the moon and a little bat in the pub for a game of skat. Couldn’t come up with anything for the above, so stuck this on the end for fun.

The moon over the pub is fat.
An old man’s happy playing skat
With his myopic wife, “Li’l Bat”.
All’s right with the world, so that’s that.)

(Written for dVerse Poets, August 5, 2014.)

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“Human Cargo”

The African sun burns deep into my aching back and limbs; it sears my skin, stretched taut over bones weary from gathering crops six days a week; it dries the sweat which flows from the roots of my hair to the soles of my feet. West Africa is a harsh home. When her people can no longer tolerate the unrelenting assault of the sun, the rains come. Months of deluge leave us praying for the return of its heat, its scorching bright light, and the chance again, to work on the land.

It is 1830, the year of my arrival in Monrovia, the capital of Liberia. I have exhausted the monies I brought with me and am forced to work for another as a common field hand. Today, I am but one of a crew of ten free men working to fill the never-ending number of boxes which await the yield of our harvest. I have emptied my collection bag many times, and so far, escaped the wrath of the overseer.

Familiar sounds coming from the jungle roust us from the fields. We hide our pickings under low-growing bushes and steal off to flatten our bodies on the ground behind scattered thickets. The overseer drops his wary watch as he knows we’d choose crop-picking under him over the fate facing the advancing hordes.

The caravan comes into view: men, necks circled by crude wooden yokes which bind one to another, walk in single file. Their captors energize laggards with cutting flicks from flashing whips. Dispirited women and children, strung together with rope, struggle to keep up, knowing the fallen will die. I have seen, firsthand, the cruel life of plantation slave that awaits these people. It was my life in America before my owner set me free.

We hold our silence, aware that if we are seen we will be overwhelmed, captured and added to the human cargo bound for slave ships waiting in the harbor.

As the parade of the vanquished passes and fades in the distance, I remain face down in the dirt. The sun continues to burn deep, but my mind rejoices that my suffering body is free. There is no yoke around my neck; there are no shackles on my ankles.

I stand and extend my arms toward the heavens and chastise not the Lord, but thank him, as the sores on my back have been inflicted by the sun and not the whip. I may be black; I may be poor and burdened; but here in Africa, the home of my ancestors, I am a free man.

Posted in Flash Fiction, historical, historical fiction, Micro Fiction, Short Fiction, Short Story | Tagged , , , , , , , , , , , , , , | 7 Comments

“Ballad of the Dancing Girls”

Two small girls swaying with the wind
Circling throughout the trees
Slowly turning hither and yon
They’re dancing with the breeze.

Long black hair, eyes of darkest brown
No blemish to be seen.
One just over, one just under
The sweet age of thirteen.

One night at dusk, the fields they trod
In search of some relief.
Five evil men who waited there
Did bring the girls to grief.

Their mothers cried, their fathers sought
Their daughters’ whereabouts.
The local law waved off the folk
And overrode their shouts.

Their uncle saw three men afoot
Carrying his nieces.
Tried to stop them until a gun
Tore his nerve to pieces.

Next morning the police did find
Corpses of the two
Suspended from the mango tree
Twirling their last adieu.

The families left the bodies there
To keep the memories
Of lives of innocence unlived
Still dancing with the breeze

In memory of two young girls raped and hung in Katara Sadatganj, India.


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“Boko Haram Comes!”

“Boko Haram comes!”
“Boko Haram comes!”

Terrifying words
Screamed into the wind
Translate into reality
When shouted into cell phones.

Warnings received
And acted upon
By all who hear.
The villagers
Flee to the mountains
Hide themselves
In ancient caves
In tops of trees
Behind dense bushes.

The observers
Safe in the arms
Of Mother Nature
Watch from afar
As pickup trucks
Race toward the school
Where hundreds of girls
Have been abandoned
By their leaders
By the local police
By the government soldiers
Who fled at the sight
Of the raging riffraff.

The deserted
Huddle together
And fear death
From the rockets
The machine-gun fire
Outside their door
Or the hands
Of the jihad-crazed
Young men
Whose boots
Tramp the floors
Inside their quarters.

Why has no one
Led the girls
To safety?
Why has no one
To protect them?

Is it because
The escapees know
That the hordes
Of frenzied invaders
Are there to muzzle
These girls
These educated
Who themselves
May not want to follow
Ten paces behind
Their men
Who themselves
May not want to hide
Behind the burka
Who themselves
May not want to remain
In the presence of men?

Do the rabid
Religious zealots
Think that enslaving
These awakening spirits
Will deaden forever
The hope for equality
That education
Has instilled in them?

Do these malcontents
Feed their fires
With delusions
Of physical
And intellectual
Male dominance?

Far worse
Than the treatment
The girls may have received
At the hands
Of their abductors
Is the knowledge
They must live with
That the ones
Who take a stand on
The educated
Female future
Of their country
Are the ones
Who want to
Eradicate the learned.

The fate
Of the girls
Is unknown.
Are they slaves
Forced to toil
For barbarians?
Are they
Coerced concubines
Or polygamous wives
Of abusive thugs?
Are they corpses?
Deteriorating skeletal remains
Of would-be
Are they still
To urge
Their backward country
Into the present
And then forward
To the future?

How long can
The kidnapped
Before their
Purloined spirits
Into subservience?

Governing leaders talk
As their inaction
Sanctions the brutality
Of rampant terrorism
Flaunting the flag
Of religious zeal.

We the outsiders
The free-for-the-moment
Watch as this horror
In pockets across our planet.

How long
Before we withdraw
And hide behind
The blanket
Of fear?

How long
Before we see
History repeat itself
And those pockets
Of Dark Age suppression
And cover
The globe.

Posted in Micro Fiction, Poetry, Short Fiction, Short Story | Tagged , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , | 14 Comments