REVERBERATION, THE NOVEL, has a new cover.

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

“The Blatant Virginity of White”

Smoke-stained walls of my prison cell
taunt me
as the blatant virginity of white
blinds my eyes
and precise mitered edges
delicately pierce
the epidermis of my wrists and throat.

Toxic drops of cinnabar
recreate
yesterday’s battlefield
as if sun-warmed snow
could reincarnate
the life source of my fallen comrades.

Pitch black curlicues, back slashes, s-curves, half-moons
overlay reality
on the naiveté of youth.
I hold the once-pristine paper
of my farewell letter
against the smoke-stained walls of my prison cell
as tears blur the words and cause the blood to run.

Again,
the blatant virginity of white
blinds my eyes….

(Written for dVerse Meeting the Bar: Defamiliarization. November 20, 2014.)

Posted in Flash Fiction, Micro Fiction, Poetry, Short Fiction, Short Story, Uncategorized | Tagged , , , , , , , , , , , , | 9 Comments

“I Hear….”

“Please leave.”
I hear my son’s voice.
“I want to be alone with my father.”

I hear the talk of strangers.
The medical staff.
I hear their sounds
but do not comprehend
their words.
The angels of mercy
remain.

I hear the hiss
of oxygen
escaping
from a
double-ended
plastic tube.
I hear the soft gurgle
of fluid
still flowing
into my arm.
I no longer hear
the soft beeps
of the heart monitor.

I hear my son’s voice
pleading
to be heard
over
the squeal
of wheels
bearing
sophisticated equipment
from the room.
I try to listen.
I want to hear
what he wants
to say.

Finally
there is silence.
My son whispers
“I love you, Dad.
You done good.”

My eyes
see only
the blackest of black.
My fingers
sense no material
goods.
I smell no disinfectants
no fresh-laundered sheets.
My tongue
is no longer soiled
by unwanted
chemicals.
My ears
detect no sound.

And I remember
that hearing
is man’s last sense
to go.

(Written for dVerse Poetics: Writing from the perspective of the dead. November 04, 2014.)

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

“Ode to the Lowly Paper Clip”

Continu’ous line, curved terminals
Aglow with gleaming silver grace.
Clip splits to bind prose germinals
Or snap on page to mark my place.

Two sides make cap and low’r case J
Press flat to form the letter S.
The Js close bags so they will stay
S holds my keys above the mess.

Kids link the clips and jewelry make
Crooks stretch out straight to open doors.
For salt, it clears the holes to shake
The comely clip does many chores.

(Written for dVerse MTB—The Things We See. October 30, 2014.)

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

“The Slave Raid”

I
a man of peace
am kept close
under jungle guard
as the thud
of war clubs
crushing bone
intermingles
with the terrified
screams
of women and children
and commanding
baritone voices
cut short mid-sentence
and involuntary moans
which resonate
around me.

My guards
stomp back and forth
shaking their bodies
swinging their arms
in mock combat
as they mimic
their clansmen
who run wild
murdering
beating
raping
torturing
the unprepared denizens
of the native village.

The cacophony
of battle
and stench
of ever-mounting
numbers
of wounded
and dying
cause me to gag.
My guards stop
their imaginary
participation
in the massacre
and watch me closely
for signs
of weakness.

Aware of their vigilance
I straighten
swallow the bile
which fills
the back of my throat
and once again
turn my face
toward the
atrocities.

I know
the survivors
of the massacre
will be corralled
and marched
to the sea
to be sold
into slavery.
I also know
I too
will be yoked
chained
and subject
to the slaver’s whip.

They will be careful.
I will not
be allowed
to die
as I am
an educated man
and
will bring
a premium price
at auction.

(Written for dVerse Poetics—War Poetry. October 28, 2014.)

Posted in Poetry | Tagged , , , , , | 18 Comments

“I Get My News from the Talking Heads”

Al
is going to
Ferguson
MO
to stir up
interest
in the
Michael Brown
case.

Sarah
proclaims
“ISIS
is a
monumental
threat
to
everyone’s security….”

Chris
tries to
startle
with
“Ebola is
here
and it’s
lethal”.

And Rush
warns
“Regime
prepares for
surge
of 9 million
illegal
immigrant
I.D.
cards”.

As for me
I’ve had enough.
I switch
to
“Frasier” reruns
and go to bed
with
a smile
on my face.

Written for dVerse Poetics, “Good News, Bad News, Your News!” October 21, 2014.

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

“Embracing America”

Early each morning
I walk with my friend
from next door.
She is stunning.
Long black hair
parted in the middle
covers her shoulders
like an ermine stole
and hangs to her waist
like the thick tail
of a show horse.

The men on our street
watch through splayed fingers
as she strides by
her purposeful gait
unique and positive.
She’s an untouchable
poster child
for the modern
American beauty
in her cropped top
and hip-hugging
short jean cutoffs.
I sometimes wonder
if she’s chosen me
as a foil
for her splendor.

As we walk
we talk of America
the miraculous advantages
unknown
in her war-torn country.
I help her study
for her citizenship test.
We car pool.
Our boys sleep over.

A few minutes ago
I brought her son
home from Boy Scouts.
I was in a hurry
but I waited
until the door opened
and he slipped inside.
Out of the corner of my eye
I saw the men
eight of them
seated in front
of a large map.
They listened to a speaker
bearded and kaftanned
who pointed
to a bull’s eye
in the middle
of the projected image.
They nodded their agreement.

Then I saw my friend
her beauty
black-robed
burka-drab
obsequiously
pouring coffee into their cups.
It was the flash
of her glorious hair
and the spring in her step
that could not be disguised
by the trappings
of subservience.

Is she part of the conspiracy?
Is this what she really wants?
I ask myself these questions
as I pull my car
into my driveway.
I will soon get the answers
as two men
have exited her house
and are waiting for me
by my front door.

They, too,
had seen something
out of the corners
of their eyes
and that was the look
of comprehension
that inadvertently
crossed my face
as I recognized the truth
of my neighbor’s
feigned acceptance
of American ways
and her fairy-tale participation
in the daily routines
of a suburban housewife.

Now I wonder
who she will choose
to replace me
and my patriotism
as the unsuspecting foil
for her treachery.

(Written for dVerse Poetics: In the Corner of Your Eye. October 07, 2014.)

Posted in Flash Fiction, Micro Fiction, Poetry, Short Fiction, Short Story | Tagged , , , , , , | 12 Comments

“Lying in Wait”

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(Photo: “Between”, copyright by Brooke Shaden)

I lie on my bed waiting.
Waiting for the evil
Which haunts the space
In my desecrated home
To strike.

It sits at my kitchen table.
It eats the food from my cupboard.
It drinks the forbidden wine from my cellar.
It sharpens its sword on my whetstone.
It laughs at my agony.

It has slashed my body
Violated my sanctum
Shattered my mind
Taken my present
Determined my future.

My evil is a young boy
Barely sixteen.
A hairless sycophant
Who follows not his god
But the disembodied voice
Of a rabble-rousing
Power-hungry
Desert rat
Whose current purpose
Is to release hate tapes
Admonishing dreamy-eyed naïfs
To maim and kill
The “infidels”
The same people who have
Opened their arms
And accepted him
The immigrant intruder
Into their homes
Their schools
Their hospitals
Their welfare system.

He comes to me brandishing
His cheap war-surplus sword
And pricks the skin
Of my neck
With the point.

“On your knees,” he cries
The tremor in his voice
Caused by the bobbing
Of his Adam’s apple.
I do not move.

He pulls me from the bed
His hands slipping
On the blood
From the wounds
He has inflicted.
He pulls out his iPhone
Kneels next to my body
And snaps a selfie.
“Next shot,” he says
“I’ll be holding your head.”

The sword cuts the air
The boy becomes a man.

As he poses
For the camera
He plans his next act
Of false heroism
In the name of his god
And the malevolent
Puppet master
Who is pulling his strings.

(Written for dVerse Poetics. September 23, 2014.)

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