Marcus G. Minnow School of Sorrow PTA Meeting

I remember making this sitting on my laptop while my oldest son did taekwando practice. I’m not sure what sparked the idea; perhaps it was me reflecting on the one PTA meeting I attended, which was I went to one, which was awkward and incredibly boring. 

Screenshot (9)

 I can’t insert a bigger picture, so if you can’t see it well, I’m afraid you’ll have to zoom in.

Have You Ever Been to the Grave? (freewriting)

I’ve been on a creative writing break for about two months now. I didn’t plan to take a break, but I’m glad I did. Doing so frees up my creativity so I can write more music…it turns out I have a hard time spending energy on both pursuits. I’m sure the pendulum will swing the other way in time.

I still engage in freewriting periodically, as is my wont. I usually go back through it to find a theme or a few lines for the beginning of a poem. I’m not sure if there’s anything here worth saving, but it struck me as interesting nonetheless:

Do you ever want to speak about the funeral? No. Of course not because you were all, “Uh, I can’t stand dead people!” and then you went somewhere and got drunk. Do you think it was easy for any of us? The rest of us had to sit there and take it, deal with our pain. We had to listen to that idiotic preacher spin a story about a man I never knew existed. It sure as hell wasn’t our father, which you know if you’d bothered to stick around.

Have you even been to the grave? God, you’re so disappointing. You have some pair of balls showing up here and expecting me to forgive you. If I start forgiving you for this, where does it stop? Am I supposed to forgive you for everything? Is that how forgiveness works? Is there some kind of statute of limitations on forgiveness, like a certain number of crows that are allowed to gather before they officially become a murder? Don’t look at me like that. Jesus. I’m making perfect sense, but you don’t understand anything because you’re so focused on yourself. If there’s a god in heaven, which is highly suspect, he doesn’t care anything about you. You were a tragic mistake, a slip of the pen, a scribble in the corner, an accidental union of chromosomes that somehow managed to make it out of the womb and draw breath. If I could go back in time, I’d kill every single one of your ancestors.

Well then. (ahem)

Things That Happened Since You Left (prose poem)

A lot of my writing deals with the difficulty of authentically communicating with another person. Even as I type these words, they fall short of conveying what I wish to convey, and so the problem is compounded.

On a related note, I believe I would make a terrible interview subject. I can imagine it going something like this:

Interviewer: Your poems are dark and absurd but seem to hint at the gulfs and chasms between people and the challenge of bridging those gulfs and chasms. Can you speak to this?

Me: Uh…not really. I just like words and the process of putting them together.

Interviewer: Oh. 

Me: Yeah.

*Sigh*

 

Things That Happened Since You Left

“What’s been happening?” you asked. So I told you:

A famous man huffed and puffed and shrank himself to the size of a blade of grass. His glasses fell off and he died, blind and alone.

A horse in a nearby town decided bathtubs were smarter it was.

The mayonnaise rebelled and said it would never be a part of a sandwich again.

Various microbes learned French and moved to Canada.

The soil disagreed on whether or not it was nutrient-rich and voted itself out of reality.

A march was held for the veterans of inconsequential wars. No one attended, and the veterans cut themselves with glass flowers.

You blinked.

I suppose it was a lot to take in.

You went away again. I watch for you through the window, but I don’t expect you’ll return.

Glinda and Charley (a scene)

I’ve given up trying to write traditional stories (at least, for now). Instead, I’m just letting the words do what they want. In this case, the words made me say, “What the hell?” Incidentally, the picture has nothing to do with the story. I just typed “weird” in the Flickr Creative Commons search bar and clicked on the one that made me laugh.

“Is there somewhere we can talk privately?” Glinda asked. She wasn’t the Good Witch, or a witch at all. She was just Glinda, and she didn’t know how to dress herself despite being thirty-three. She had a maid help her. The maid’s name was Fuzzy. She was a cat, but a really smart one with a keen fashion sense and a remarkable vocabulary.

“Like the moon?” Charley suggested. He was fond of the moon and its wild temperature swings. He was also rather partial to radiation.

“The moon’s too far,” Glinda lamented.

“It’s not that far if you travel with your imagination.”

“Like Mr. Roger’s?”

“Sure, if Mr. Roger’s was a kick-ass space explorer.”

“Mr. Roger’s is plenty kick-ass without adding ‘space explorer’ to his already impressive resume,” Glinda said. Her hair dragged the floor, and she suffered from excessive optimism, the kind that made Charley nervous.

“Whatever,” Charley said. “Are we going to the moon or not?”

“Not. What I have to say can be said here. It’s private enough.”

“The bugs are listening.”

“I’m not worried what a few bugs think, if they think anything at all.” Glinda took a deep breath. “Ok, here it is. I’m worried you might not be real.”

Charley rubbed his chin. The thought had occurred to him, too. It was troubling notion, that he might not be real. Glinda’s realness was never in question. Was that strange or is that how things were supposed to go?

“Does it matter if I’m real or not?” Charley asked. “We still like each other.”

“We do?” Glinda felt warm inside. She thought Charley kind of hated her.

“Well, we tolerate each other.”

Glinda felt her insides clam up. She would never be the apple of Charley’s eye, or of anyone’s. The only creature that loved her was Fuzzy…maybe. Or maybe Fuzzy was just doing her job?

“Now that we’ve settled that, I’m off to check out the moon,” Charley said. “Are you sure you don’t want to come?”

“Yes,” Glinda whispered.

“Toodle-oo,” Charley said and blinked out of sight.

Glinda settled onto the floor and tried to cry, but she’d forgotten how. Or maybe she’d never learned in the first place.

A Strange Day (story-poem with a nifty illustration!)

This made me laugh. 

A Strange Day

I stumbled on something yesterday.
It was alive and made a sound,
kind of a mewling, choking noise.
I was afraid I had killed it, so I began
crying, but the thing I stepped on
rolled into the grass and sat up.

“That was a horrible experience,” it said.

“It wasn’t all that great for me,” I replied.

The creature looked kind of like this:

creature

“You look kind of like a two dimensional onion,” I said.

The creature frowned at me. “I hate onions,” it said,
“and I don’t look anything like that. For thing, I have hair.”
“How many onions have you ever seen with hair?”

“I can’t think of ever seeing an onion with hair,” I said.

“That’s what I thought,” the creature said. “Now, leave me alone.”

The creature rolled off through the grass and I never saw it again.

It was a strange day, but I’ve had stranger.

The Girl and the Wolf (fable fragment)

A yellow basket for your smile isn’t too much to ask, said the wolf.

The girl checked her blade. Sharp as ever, thanks to her grizzled grandmother. She considered the basket. It was a far site better than the one she swung back and forth.

The wolf held the yellow basket in his teeth. Smile for me, dear, he said around the handle. Smile for me and this is yours.

The girl smiled, and the wolf dropped the basket at her feet. On your way, then, said the wolf.

She now had two baskets and a blade. The wolf still had his teeth.

The girl walked, and the wolf followed.

Leaves for a Pillow (short fiction)

I remember writing this creepy little story while at my son’s taekwando practice…and then, as I do with so much of my writing, completely forgot about it. I did a little tweaking here and there and am mostly satisfied with it. Why you would gather leaves for a pillow is beyond me, but that’s what the character insisted on doing, both during the first draft and this morning. So be it.

Now that my health is back under control, I’m writing again but not as frequently. I have zero interest in submitting poetry, so I’m taking a break from that. Instead, I’m combing through stories and poems written during the last year and seeing what can be salvaged.

Here’s the story. As always, thanks for reading.

 

leaves.jpg

Image courtesy of Flickr and the Creative Commons license

 

“You’re very kind,” the girl said, kneeling on the ground and gathering leaves.

The boy watched. He wasn’t kind, but the girl didn’t need to know that yet.

When she had enough leaves, the girl walked back toward the farmhouse. Not enough for a pillow, but a good start. The boy followed but stopped on the porch while the girl opened the door and went in.

“Do you want to visit for a while?” the girl asked. “Mama won’tt mind. She’ll be in the kitchen, fixing supper. Daddy’s gone to town for the day.”

The boy studied the girl. He liked her bone structure, her fine ankles, the tilt of her head and the slow blink of her eyes. She dazzled in a bar of sunlight. He nodded.

“You don’t say much,” the girl remarked, turning and facing the boy. “Or anything, really. Can you talk?”

The boy nodded.

“But you don’t have anything to say right now?”

The boy nodded again.

“Well, then,” the girl said, “I need to get these leaves in a pillow case and gather more. I’ll introduce you to Mama first. Come on.”

The boy followed the girl into the kitchen, where a tall woman stood over a sink snapping beans. She turned and regarded the girl and boy.. “And who’s this?” she asked.

“I don’t know his name,” the girl said. “I found him in the woods. He’s very kind.”

The boy studied the girl’s mother. He didn’t like her bone structure. The girl didn’t favor her at all, lacked the woman’s long face and protruding brow.

“We don’t take in strays,” the woman said. “We don’t have an extra plate, if it’s food you’re after, and we don’t need help on the farm.”

The boy didn’t move. The girl said, “He doesn’t talk.”

“I can see that,” the woman said. “Is he deaf?”

“No,” the girl answered.

“This is my house, you understand?” the woman said, tossing the beans into the metal colander and closing in on the boy. “You’re not welcome here, no matter what my daughter says. Go back to where you came from.”

The boy still didn’t move. The girl said, “Can he help me put leaves in my pillow.”

“No, he can get himself out of here.”

The boy flicked his right hand and the woman disappeared. The girl gasped. “Where’d she go?” she demanded.

The boy shrugged.

The girl thought for a while. Maybe it wouldn’t be so bad with her mother gone. She could be quite cruel, and the boy was very kind. Her father might be a bit put out. Maybe the boy could make him disappear, too.

“Would you like to help me now?” the girl asked.

The boy nodded and followed the girl upstairs to her room.