REVERBERATION, THE NOVEL, has a new cover.

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Posted in historical, historical fiction, historical novel | 15 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

“Tea with Mrs. Bee”

The day Mrs. Bee came to tea with me
Gossip flew ’round the room in a torrent.
Then she and me, we agreed to agree
To deem gossip by others abhorrent.

Mr. Turtle doth churtle with Myrtle
Bee said, but you did not hear it from me.
Fertile news is curtal, wife’s a hurdle
Mrs. T. will ne’er set that tortoise free.

Rob Rabbit does flit among does a bit
Bee notes, his rep as roué is well-earned.
He’ll admit to a snit, right proper fit
Unless the head of his prey he has turned.

Queen Bee left my tea and rushed off to see
Dee Flea so she could tee-hee about me.

(Written for dVerse Poets: Nonsense Poetry. September 18, 2014.)
[curtal, adj., obsolete: brief]
[churtle, verb, obscure: as used here, it’s open to individual interpretation]

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

“Andes Adventure”

As we leave the city of Caracas
we pass armed soldiers on street corners
a policeman who answered a query
with the threat of arrest.
We circle the roundabout
in the commercial center
view elegant mansions
glimpse designer-draped matrons
men in suits of silk and linen.

We skirt the barrios of tin-roofed shacks
decoupaged on hillsides
with their threadbare inhabitants
and bare-naked children,
three-dimensional survivors
of flesh-packed hovels
who wait to pounce
on the incautious tourist
who neglects to guard
his wallet and his life.

Seeking adventure
on a sun-blessed day
we drive from the city
up the steep mountainside
through Colinia Tovar
with its alpine architecture
flowers
vegetable gardens
tourist shops.

On our way high into the mountains
we pass an unattended stand
with insect-infested carcasses
bereft of their skin
each a week’s worth of meals
for extended families.

We are alone
as we begin our descent
into a bottomless valley.
The road drops off
next to the pitted macadam.
A downward glance
warns of the fate
that awaits the distracted driver
whose tire leaves the tarmac.

Vegetation proliferates
while pockets of smoke
dot the landscape.
It is forest-fire time in the Andes.
We see the glow of flames
flickering in the valley below.
The road is narrow
mountainside to the left
thousand-foot drop to the right
no room to turn around.

We soldier on
until a meager indent
allows us to change direction.
The road we have traveled
is steep and the rusty Fiat
protests on its return trip.

We overtake a battered Jeep
with four men
hanging out the sides and back.
Brandishing machetes
and flashing third-finger insults
they slow to fifteen-miles an hour.

We cannot pass.
Our tortured vehicle
hiccoughs along behind.
One false move
and we drive over the precipice
if they don’t
get us first.

Classic case of fear
engulfs us as time passes
and they play on our demons.

With a final barrage
of derogatory shouts
they pull to the side
and let us pass.
Not done with us
they follow close behind
until we reach Colinia Tovar.
Then we are free.

But not from the memory
which returns
in the night
and leaves one
or both of us
bathed in perspiration
and murmuring
“We’ll never be found
We’ll never be found.”

(Written for dVerse Poetics: Travel Poetry. September 16, 2014.)

Posted in Flash Fiction, Micro Fiction | Tagged , , , , , , | 12 Comments

“Nightcat”

On soft padded paws, the black cat treads
slowly infiltrating the night.
Cautiously stalking his perceived dreads
lips part, teeth flash, ready to fight.

The cat pulls back, his spine hairs alert
he pauses ’fore slithering on.
Slit eyes of gold, on guard!, they assert
feigning cool, he stifles a yawn.

He’s prey or it’s prey, he knows not which
fear propels him to take a stand.
Back arched, ears flat, the tail starts to twitch
one pounce, and I’m back from dreamland.

(Written for dVerse, Meeting The Bar: Following Through On Metaphor. September 11, 2014.)

Posted in Flash Fiction, Micro Fiction, Poetry, Short Fiction, Short Story | Tagged , , , , | 17 Comments

“To See The Light”

Funereal drapes cover backless wall niches
where panes of glass
once channeled summer light.

Faded velvet hangs loose
over shattered door frames
impeding easy entrance
or expedient exit.

A single candle sends a feeble glow
over a book on the table
centered in the belly
of the blackened room.

A boy covers his ears against the sounds
of gunfire in the alley,
human cries of pain,
the rumble of tanks
on a pitted road.

He has pencilled a quote
in the margin
of his required reading:
“If freedom of speech is taken away,
then dumb and silent we may be led,
like sheep to the slaughter.”

He whispers the words aloud
as a flash of light invades his space
and another fissure
appears in the wall.

The boy winces
then prays for the chanting protesters
who are being silenced
outside the shrouded house
and hopes
that he,
and they,
will live to see
the light of freedom.

(The “freedom of speech” quotation: George Washington.)

(Written for dVerse Poets, Poetics: Bringing Light to Darkness. September 9, 2014.)

Posted in Flash Fiction, Micro Fiction, Poetry, Short Fiction, Short Story | Tagged , , , , , , , , , | 25 Comments

“Harbingers of Autumn”

The Annabelles
have turned
from white to green.
The Nikko Blues are gone.
Deep-pink
Glowing Embers
reign in
regal purple shrouds.
Cones of white
still crown
sturdy
Lime Light stems.

The fading days
of summer
dim with dying
hydrangea blooms.
Like moorings
in the harbor
freed from ships’
warm-weather lines
the gaudy plants
in autumn
shed
tropical tiaras
and prepare
to ride the tides
of winter
unadorned.

(Written for dVerse Poets. Open Link Night. August 30, 2014.)

Posted in Flash Fiction, Micro Fiction, Poetry, Short Fiction, Short Story, Uncategorized | Tagged , , , , , | 8 Comments