Literature's Next Frontier


Flamingo

NON-FICTION:

My Migraine

by Delicate Flower Quill-blue

     A needle spears into my brain in the middle of the night, or so it seems.  I am used to the stabbing pain, so it causes no surprise and I close my eyes.  But, I know it's only a matter of moments before I will be forced out of bed.  Here it comes - the lead balloon has landed on my head.  I'm exhausted and try with all my might to fight the intensifying crushing sensation.  I am forced to stagger out of my comfortable bed and head to the kitchen where my drugs await me.  My tortured brain leads me towards the Maxalt - my prescription miracle that will make me feel normal in forty five minutes.  I waited too long.  I always do that.  I know I'm supposed to take my medicine before the pain envelopes my entire body.  But, I try to tell myself that it's all in my head, which is what has been said to me by some doctors and even family members.  They don't mean this in the literal sense.  They imply that this is some kind of psychosomatic invention that I force myself into experiencing.  I admit, I did eat chocolate last night.  And Pizza a few nights before that - oh yeah, and I had a box of raisins and a banana with my cereal for breakfast yesterday morning.  I know I'm supposed to abstain from these foods known to bring out the beast, but sometimes I feel fine after ingesting these seemingly soothing nutrients.  There must be a weather front on its way from Canada.  The barometric pressure builds, steaming my brain into a poisonous cauliflower that waits for the medicine to make its way into its tortuous vessels.  I stick my head over a pot of boiling water while I wait for the medication to take effect.  The steam feels like a thousand heated hands slowly massaging my entire body.  The endorphins give me thirty seconds of relief, but I'll take what I can get.  I grab a bag of frozen mixed vegetables from the freezer and shuffle to the couch.  I lie down and place the medicinal veggies where the pain is most intense.  I close my eyes and pray for the pain to disappear.  The pain is getting worse and I start to envision myself turning into Sylvia Plath as I contemplate sticking my head into a nice hot oven.  That sounds so soothing right about now.  I lay like a sad sack, saturated by my melting vegetables, waiting for the pain to stop.  I pretend I'm floating around in an Opium den, which is ironic, since I'm not the Heroin type.  But, the fantasy seems to be working.  The pain is letting up.  I feel like I'm floating and my eyes are getting heavy.  I'm feeling no pain and I thank the pharmaceutical gods in their white coats and dark rimmed spectacles as I sail off into a painless sleep.


Posted on: August 29 2011

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NON-FICTION:

What If?

by R. W. Scott Quill-green

Ever hear an ad on the radio (this is more a radio thing than TV), "...get the ___________ that YOU deserve!" It goes on to explain what it is that YOU, the listener, deserves in great and expensive detail.

And THAT got me thinking:

What if everyone really DID get what they deserved? Wouldn't that be amazing? Not everything a person deserves is something they want, now, is it?

Then I had a thought about the "What If?" question in general, and I wondered:

What if there were no pills or shots? What if all medicines had to be taken in a spoon? Would that change the number of hypochondriacs out there?

What if no person could do anything for him- or herself, including feeding, bathing, and cleaning up after a bathroom visit? Would that change the way we look at and deal with our neighbors? Our family?  ...and strangers?

What if the education system was based on things learned, not on time spent? No. Really.

What if when someone failed, you said "bless you" (because they just learned something), and when they sneezed you said "damn you" for spreading germs?

What if we only ate when we were hungry, and only drank when we were thirsty?

...and finally, what if YOU added to this list?


Posted on: August 29 2011

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POETRY:

Green

by Delicate Flower Quill-blue

Grass is green

and jealousy's mean

the wicked witch's face.

The hot house is as green can be

a very steamy place.

Mold and moss

grow quite well

along the strong big bark.

And plants and frogs

and leaves of trees

are green until it's dark.

 


Posted on: August 27 2011

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POETRY:

The Reappearance of a Memory

by Delicate Flower Quill-blue

Nothing appears to be seen

as far as eyes can see.

But, does that mean

nothing's really there?

Look - where there appears

to be an empty space.

The trace of a memory

thought to be erased,

reappears after all these years

of thinking nothing was here.


Posted on: August 27 2011

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POETRY:

Harrassment

by Poetrygirl Quill-red

Write, Write, Write; Fix, Fix, Fix; Try again, Try again, Try again; Write, Write, Write; Fix, Fix, Fix; Try again, Try again, Try again; Write, Write, Write; Fix, Fix, Fix; Try again, Try again, Try again; BUT WAIT!!! Stop fixing. Write, Write, Write! Harassment? No, perfection!


Posted on: August 26 2011

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POETRY:

PAIN

by Anonymous

I was someone once When life had substance That was then Thought I’d win What did I know Glaring thru the window How vain Shall I remain


Posted on: August 26 2011

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POETRY:

One Line

by Poetrygirl Quill-red

This is one line

Although it is more than you think

Where will we end up

The earth is not flat

Nor should this be.


Posted on: August 25 2011

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POETRY:

The Heraclitean Nature of Existence

by the other guy Quill-orange

                Erupting from the tunnel, skimming by

                      Back-eddying waters, swaying past dark

                      Swamps, eroded highways, vast yards of high-

                      Stacked ruined trucks -- vagrant cities' last mark --,

                      The rail car's window constructs well-ordered spaces,

                      And arouses, in its passage's shuddering change,

                      A crowded desire, laced with fear that displaces

                      Assured repose.

                                                        Outside, the damp sources are arranged

                      In dark tableaux of events stark in the night,

                      Their various facets repelling your chastened stare;

                      Each unchanged as you sway back down the rails,

                      Real as the crooked fire of the match you light.

                      Blundering by their quiescence, you can become aware

                      Of uncrafted presence persisting when vision fails.


Posted on: August 24 2011

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FICTION:

A Quiet Disturbed

by SephiPiderWitch Quill-yellow

 

 

 

Swirls of mist rose up from the ground, hovering gently above it, caressing it and checking its substance. A stir breathed into it and moved it in swirls and undulations, soft glows emanating within its depths like bodies swimming and riding the currents. Diffused faces looked around, disoriented, seemingly lost and confused. The glows shifted in varied hues and shades of colors within the deepening churning mists, soft muted colors from gentle pastels to demure shades so dim as to be barely perceptible. Occasionally, small sparks of light emerged as if a few tiny stars were trapped within and trying to escape.

 

 

The soft curtain of silence that was night became slightly severed with low unsettled whispers. At first, it was but a couple, then it began to multiply, urgent, confused, questioning. It sent ripples through the night air, awakening more spirits to join and bringing disquiet into this place of quiet sleep.

 

 

A small voice cleared the murmurs of the others, a soft voice, but clear as a crystal bell. “What has happened? I slept, I dreamt, all was complete, I was divine. I was alone and now there are many. It was quiet, now it is disturbed. There are so many! How came I to be in not the place I should?”

 

 

The shimmer behind the voice looked about. Their voices underlying the silence like the hum of a far off machine that is just within the hearing range and can’t be dismissed. They permeated the air and sent ripples through it that made nerves ache.

 

 

The sky began to lighten as the morning sun slowly crept upward. The unease grew within the voices, their movements quickening and the disturbance in the air rising. Their glows began to fade as the light grew till all that remained was the mist and the murmurs of the disturbed air.

 

 

Day crested and the gates were opened. Soon, a group of people made a slow, ritual way inward, their eyes downcast, their purpose focused. They found the assigned spot and began to take their places, waiting patiently for the last stragglers. Some shifted uncomfortably for a time while others looked around them and still others simply stood in contemplative silence.

 

 

They began. And the disturbed mists felt them and made their way over. They watched as the mists slipped in and about their feet as they began to speak. The mist rose and thickened, and as it rose, they felt a weight that was beyond the weight of this day, a weight that was beyond theirs, and yet felt like it should be, descend upon them and envelop them. As each took their turns to speak what they had come to say, they found other words issuing forth in the midst of their own, words that came from their mouths that were not theirs. Their sorrows made more bare, amplified, as they felt the anguish of the displaced.

 

 

A small girl stood off at the end of the group, holding tightly to her mother’s hand. She smiled as she looked to her side and saw the shimmer that was the small voice and they reached out to each other. The girl looked up at her mother and tugged gently on her arm to tell her. The mother leaned down and the girl told her of the shimmer that could no longer dream and the mists that had been forced out and had no home any more. And the mother heard it and believed that the weight of the day had been too much for the girl and tried to console her and tell her it was but her imagination playing tricks upon her. The girl sobbed and nodded, but never let go of the shimmer that held her hand.

 

 

As the last words were being spoken, the shimmer began to quiver and tightened her grip on the girl’s hand. She tugged gently, imploring the girl to follow and wrapped the girl in the urgency and desperation that had become her. Gently, the girl let her hand slip from her mother’s grip and let the shimmer wrap around her, cloaking her from the watchful eyes about. They went to a quiet hill with an ancient tree upon it, stretching its limbs to protect the whole hill. They sat under the tree as the shimmer told her story of her dreams disturbed and how she woke to find her place had become no place and of the others who once had a home and a place to rest and now had nowhere and were lost.

 

 

The voices of the party echoed across the area, frantic and imploring. They watched as they wandered around the area under the hill and sat silent, the great limbs of the tree hiding them from their seekers. The shimmer held tight to the girl, begging her to stay there so she would not be alone in this strange open place. The girl nodded and sobbed, for the shimmer’s sorrows as much as the fear of what the party would do to her once she was found.

 

 

As the party searched, the mists followed, circling the members of the group and wailing out at them. Their wails sparked fears in the party and they looked to the sky for the storm they believed to be approaching. The search grew more frantic and harried and the people darted in every direction, fear gripping at them like a stalker.

 

 

The mother came up around the back of the hill and that’s where she found them. The mists converged on her as she fell to her knees at what was before her and wept. The others came rushing and looked with horror with her at the jumbled wreckage of the discarded. It was like peering into a dragon’s cave. The remains were tossed in piles and strewn across the ground like discarded refuse. Remnants and shards dotted solitary areas. Eyeless holes peered out at them and skeletal hands reached out as if for help. They shouted and made calls and soon there were very many more. Many needed to untangle and make sense of the chaotic web of all these remains. Many needed to help piece each back together and make whole again, many to find answers and demand a reckoning.

 

 

A small lone form was the first to be put back in its place, gently lifted and given a new warm place to lie with soft cushions all around. As she was laid reverently onto the cushions, the young one with the laughter of a thousand bells and stars shining in her eyes, the girl felt the shimmer begin to release its grip and felt a gentle brush against her cheek. The shimmer settled in and once again dreamt and once again was divine.

 

 

Sephi'PiderWitch July 25, 2009


Posted on: August 24 2011

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POETRY:

The Roots of Passion

by Delicate Flower Quill-blue

The passion rises

from the rose

that blooms and sheds

its red petals

throughout the garden of our souls.

The thorns that cut and bleed

leaving scars embedded in eternity.

Planting the roots

of strong maternal needs.

Feelings flow

saturating the soil

with seeds that spread and grow

deep into the ground

where we will all eventually go.


Posted on: August 24 2011

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POETRY:

Eternal Web

by Delicate Flower Quill-blue

Weaving through a web

connecting all of time.

Fused for eternity

are moments intertwined.

Swishing and swirling

through fog and misty dew,

connecting shadowy, steamy shapes

of shades of grades of blue.

Fused for eternity

are the memories in my mind

linking you with me

forever for all time.

 


Posted on: August 24 2011

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POETRY:

Grandma Bea

by Delicate Flower Quill-blue

It started a long time ago

when I used to walk a mile or so

to visit with Grandma Bea.

She'd offer her smile, cookies, and tea

and we'd sit and talk and watch T.V.

I can't forget the weekly trips

to Howard Johnson's for fish and chips.

Ringling Brothers and Nutcracker suites 

were places we'd go

and it was always a treat.

Grandma Bea watched me grow

and listened to all 

my relationship woes.

She'd never judge me in any way

and always listened to what I'd say.

The only times we would disagree

was when she was driving 

in a car with me.

"You're going much too fast -

you're a crazy driver",

she would sometimes blast.

But, after we'd reach our destination

we'd be at peace

and have a revelation.

The Rascal House was our usual place

where we'd meet to talk and laugh and eat.

Our day was not complete

unless we could shop -

Shop till we drop

that was our motto

and by the time we were done

we needed to win Lotto.

When I think of all the things we've done

I remember having so much fun

like eating hot hogs without the bun

and before we knew it

we'd be on the run.

Costco, Publix, and Sawgrass Mills

Quality shoping

without all the frills.

Then, we worked up an appetite -

where should we go for dinner tonight?

Moe's is only opened till four

and the Rascal House

has a line out the door.

But, Turnbagel's opened, so we've heard.

We musn't miss the early bird.

I always looked forward to calling Grandma up

to tell her all the latest stuff

And, so as far as grandmother's go -

you are the most wonderful grandmother I know.


Posted on: August 24 2011

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POETRY:

Open Your Eyes

by Delicate Flower Quill-blue

Open your eyes

and finally see

what has been in front of you

since your existence graced this earth.

The flowers that blossom and sing

telling you to celebrate your birth.

Walk with pride

and finally appreciate

the wonder of the heaven's work

the carvings of stone

cemented into an earth

covered by green -

the clarity of the sea

strategically placed

below your eyes

whispering your name

summoning your soul

guiding your path 

to eternal greatness.


Posted on: August 24 2011

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POETRY:

Yarn Dreams

by Blaze Quill-red

Turning up her nose

to the fairy tale,

life is so much sweeter

than the imagination;

a skein of yarn at her feet

unraveling

           into

                                                 a giant tapestry

                                                                                     of freedom.


Posted on: August 24 2011

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POETRY:

This is the Moment

by Blaze Quill-red

 

To be your blazing self…

to speak with your heart and

dance with your soul.

To be brilliant…

in all the ways you already are and

the million more yet to be discovered.

To follow a path…

of your own design and

in a direction that best suits you.

Are you ready?

–Barbara L. Lazarony


Posted on: August 23 2011

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POETRY:

Your Hands

by Blaze Quill-red

 

 

 

 

 

Hold my hand,

guide me in hollow darkness,

on my journey,

remind me,

“You are not alone.”

 

I will be rattled,

by turbulent swirls of force,

may I find peace

and friendship in our grasp.

 

--Barbara L. Lazarony


Posted on: August 23 2011

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POETRY:

As it is Written

by Farmer Rye'N Quill-orange

Angels sinned in this…

Insatiable…Secular world

Ravaging ignorant

Tangible thoughts

 

Everything...Nothing

There hides

Eternal retribution

Enveloped inside…Something

Never once noticed

Evolving…revolving

Into…

Galactic happenstance

 

Twisted emotions

Open under scrutiny

New...Old

Trumpets echo violently

Entertaining noise

 

Once…never enough

Triumphant hearts…

Explode

Releasing envy

Impure splendor

Nourishing obedience

Naked equality

Wandering hopelessly

Observing unworthy

 

Nubile dreams

Erupt rhythmically

Suggestively

Transmuting archetypical

Nuanced discernible

Sentimentality

 


Posted on: August 23 2011

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POETRY:

The Roots of Life

by Blaze Quill-red

Nature Poetry, A tree with large roots

I have spent my whole life, up to now,

looking at the flowers,

drinking in their beauty…

wishing for something I am not.

It’s the roots now,

that I’m attracted to,

the gnarled, tangled, messy roots.

The ones that reach down

into the natural world,

find strength within the earth,

soak in glorious nourishment,

and drink up life.

–Barbara L. Lazarony

 


Posted on: August 23 2011

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FICTION:

Eyes in the Sky

by Delicate Flower Quill-blue

     I lost my sight at the age of thirty five.  Glaucoma slowly gnawed away at my optic nerve.  I admit, I was complacent about using my eyedrops and believed the Eye Bright promises of the convincing infomercials.  I learned braille and somehow managed to navigate my way through the jungle of life with my cane and other instincts by my side.

     But, on this one fateful day, I decided to cast caution to the wind, and trust the words of a person standing next to me at a street corner.  "It's safe to cross now", said the sincere sounding stranger.  So off the curb I stepped and that was the end of my physical life here on earth.

     It's true what they say about the light, which surprised me, since I haven't seen actual light in fourteen years.  But, apparently even the blind will see the light when their time is up.  I was hoping to be going up, but at this moment, I seemed to be hovering.  Not like an annoying parent, but more like a flock of hungry hawks deciding if the decaying flesh was worth diving into.

     I am not sure how long I actually hovered, but at some point, I could feel my energy start to strengthen, as I swirled and twirled into a ball of cosmic dust and shot up into the atmosphere at supersonic speed.  My physical self used to suffer from motion sickness at the slightest movement. So, it was quite an accomplishment that I was able to tolerate this whirlwind of a trip without the need for Dramamine.

     Once again, I am not certain of how long it took me to reach my final destination.  But, I assumed I had arrived where I was meant to be when the swirling slowed and the hovering returned.  I could feel something strange happening - like pieces of energy rearranging and forming into an odd shape.  Not round nor square - maybe oval.  I felt a stretching or branching out - like a swishing of energy moving up and down.  The flapping continued at a more rapid pace until a spangling of stars streaked across the blanket of blackness.  I could actually see the universe in its grand vastness filled with shooting stars and rotating planets.  But, even more extraordinary were the millions of eyes that floated past me in glorious colors.

     I felt overwhelmed by the number of eyes that floated past me, under me, and over me.  I couldn't help but notice how different these eyes appeared.  Some were greener than the granny apples that I used to bite into and others were a mixture of brown and green.  I believe they called that hazel back down on earth.  I don't think I ever met anyone with hazel eyes, other than my mother and myself.  A purple eye flirted by.  Could that have been Elizabeth Taylor?  I wondered.  Would I be able to spot Sammy Davis Jr. with his glass eye?  I'd have to keep my eye peeled for that one.  This was a smorgasbord of eyes some of which were fit for the soup of Hannibal Lechter.  I wondered if any of these eyes belonged to any of his victims, but preferred not to dwell on such a dismal thought.

     I started to notice that all of these vastly different colored eyes had one uniform trait - thick, long eyelashes.  The kind that I used to see on Maybelline mascara commercials.  I could only hope that my newly formed eye was also lined with the same luxurious and silky lashes, which would be quite a change from the sparse lashes of my previous reality.  I could not know this for sure as there were no mirrors in the upper stratospheres.

     I glided through this sea of eyes brushing into soft pillows of lush lashes, when suddenly I found myself eye to eye with the most unusual shade of blue iris I had ever seen.  It was a mixture of blue and charcoal with speckles of green and streaks of brown.  This eye hovered over mine and my eye could not budge from the hypnotic stare in front of me.  I realized that I had seen this eye somewhere before.  The unusual speckles of color began to fade as I peered into this familiar eye and the blue began to shine through.  My pupil began to dilate and my lashes batted like an uncontrollable twitch when I realized whose eye I was staring into.  His eye blinked a knowing blink and then squinted before opening wider than a smiling rainbow as his lashes drew mine into his.  My father had found me among the thousands of eyes that roamed the open skies.  I could finally close my eye and rest in peace. 

 

 

 


Posted on: August 23 2011

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POETRY:

The Straight Ahead Path

by Delicate Flower Quill-blue

Walk down the road

that takes you uphill.

Coasting's okay,

but never stand still.

Look straight ahead

do not turn around.

You can look to the sides,

but if you look back

you'll fall down.

Continue the journey

through potholes and troughs,

through deeply dug ditches

and roads laden with rocks -

through sink holes and mudslides

and unpaved mass,

through slippery slopes

and roads covered by glass.

But, as you continue

on the beaten up path,

you'll eventually see a fork or two.

You'll stop and wonder

what you should do.

Go right or left

where things appear smooth?

Or continue where bumps

are waiting for you?

The road straight ahead

seems the right choice.

"You never know what you'll find"

says this strange little voice.

So, off you continue

on the straight ahead path.

The road seems to have leveled -

it's smooth sailing at last.


Posted on: August 22 2011

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POETRY:

It Is Said

by Delicate Flower Quill-blue

It is said it is written on a certain day

who will prosper and who will pay

who will work and who will play

who will blossom and who will whither away.

 

It is said it is written in the sky

who will speak truth and who will lie

who will laugh and who will cry

who will give up and who will continue to try.

 

It is said it is written in the sand

who will bow down and who will stand

who will choose sea and who will love land

who will feel comfort and who will be stricken by hand.

 

It is said it is written in the rain

who will feel joy and who will feel pain

who will partake and who will abstain

who will be taken and who will remain.

 

It is said it is written at the gate

who will love and who will hate

Life is for living on this very date

postpone no more - just celebrate!


Posted on: August 22 2011

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FICTION:

Reclaiming

by SephiPiderWitch Quill-yellow

 

 

Soul weary and with a leaden heart, he slung the pack across his back and began to walk.  He walked until he lost track of how long he had walked, till his mind was stilled save for the placement of the next step, long past the time where he crossed others upon the trail, till the muscles in his body screamed "enough!"  And still he continued, placing one foot in front of the other.  It was as if the trees were beckoning him onward, parting just slightly to show him the way.  And still, he continued. Still further he would have gone, save for the fallen trees that barred the path forcing him to veer off to find a way around.

 

He pushed thorugh the brush and branches and heard the soft trickle of water nearby.  So, he pushed a bit further away from the path to look for its source.  The soothing crystal sound pulled at him until he found himself in a small clearing.

 

Soft rays of sunshine poured through scattered breaks in the branches and the mossy veils of the trees.  The small steady stream of water slipped over a crease in the hill to play across the rocks, casting prism glimmers of light on the slope before coming to rest in the small pool in front of him.

 

He let his pack slip from his shoulder onto the ground, then slowly lowered himself down beside it.  He pulled a small bag of food from the pack and leaned back against an ancient tree stump, a furrow in it a perfect fit for his spine, its gnarled roots granting a cradled seat.  He slowly began to eat, allowing the silence to fill him, the scents to intoxicate him and the low heartbeat of the land to lull him..

 

He slipped into a gentle slumber and was awakened by a sense; a presence maybe.  He looked around him to notice the sun had dipped slightly, shifting the shadows and play of light around him.  Off to his side, he noticed a slender stump robed in a deep carpet of moss, rising up from the ground like a small moss-robed man.  He smiled at the thought, remembering the stories he had been told as a youth of the fey spirits of the forests.  He could see in this visage how such tales got their birth.  And the more he looked upon this man of moss, the more real he appeared to him.  It was almost as if he could sense him waiting, listening.  But, for what?

He leaned back and watched it for some time and the spell of the forest touched him once again.  "So, its a story you wish to hear, is it?"  He asked the little man.  "Well, fine then.  Then tis a story you shall have."  He reached into his pack again and pulled out his pipe, filled it with some sweet smelling tobacco, lit it, then leaned back against the stump and began to talk.

 

His story, he began to tell, of his life.  The words, slow and faltering at first, then flowing into a stream whose dam has broken, into a torrent of tales.  He spoke tales of his pains and sorrows, of his joys and accomplishments, and of course, his failures.  He recounted the tales of his youth and many adventures then.  Of his loves and his losses, and of his children.  Of those he had said goodbye to far too soon and those whose brief touch left an indelible imprint on his soul.  He spoke of those that had loved him and those that had betrayed him and laughed at how often they were the same.  He wept and he laughed as the stories poured out.  The miles and the years and the lifetimes he had experienced, all were told, all revealed.

 

Silently and patiently, the figure listened.  An understanding being who had all the time in the world for him, who begged to hear, with his quiet countenance, all he had to tell.  So, on he talked, telling the secrets he had never told another soul.  He told of the things no man speaks of to another.  The secret fears and the unfulfilled desires locked and guarded so deeply within.

 

And deeper, the sun began to slip.  And on he talked, till his voice was hoarse from the expense, till there were no more words to speak.  And still the figure listened, silently, patiently, till the last word had been summoned forth

 

The night had stolen in during this time and the man smiled gently on the robed figure in the dark.  The telling lifting the weight from his heart, his soul finally at peace.  He closed his eyes to the night and slept, his mossy guardian never leaving his side.

 

She broke into the clearing, eyes full of wonder at what she saw there.  She began to snap pictures of all that was about her, the sparkling little waterfall, the trees with their drapes of feather moss, the birthing blooms of Spring.  This was the kind of place that dreams were made of, that held the promise of fairy dances and midnight rites, of the ancient gods and a time where nothing was beyond belief.

 

A shadow fleeted off to her side, catching her attention.  A small gasp escaped her lips as she spied the partial circle of moss covered figures.  She began to snap pictures of them rapidly, from every angle.  Worshipers frozen in time, the wise ones of the woods, guardians of the forest.  They looked so real, she thought, as she set her pack down on the ground.  "I'll bet you all have such stories to tell!"  She pulled her notebook and pen from her pack and sat down.  She closed her eyes for a moment, breathed in the forest, and listened till the first soft whisper slipped into her ear.  "Yes!  Oh Yes!"  she exclaimed, opened her book and began to write.

 

Sephi'PiderWitch March, 2010

 


Posted on: August 22 2011

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FICTION:

The Minister of Regrets

by humbird

 

By C Y Gopinath

Excerpted from The Book of Answers 

“No, no, no, no,” Arindam waved my words away. “You must understand. Ishwar Prasad, with barely eight months to go before the elections, this morning announced the creation of a brand new ministry, the likes of which has never been heard of before, not in India and not in any other nation.” 

He allowed a dramatic silence to sit between us. 

On the telly at this moment a bureaucrat sub-titled Mr. Ramasubban Vengayam, Minister of Errors and Regrets, was shaking his head morosely from side to side. “I think even the formation of a ministry such as mine is very regrettable,” he was saying. “It will take us a long time to recover from this blunder the government has committed. My Ministry apologizes deeply, from the bottom of the heart, to all Indians who will be affected by our work in the days ahead.”

The visual changed to a room full of men and women with cameras and tape recorders; clearly this was a press conference. A young man in a tweed coat spoke up, “What is your ministry’s main function, sir?”

“Our main function is blinding honesty,” said the minister heavily. “Perhaps it is our main weakness. I and my staff stand ready to admit and apologize every time the government commits a blunder. For example, when third rate laws are passed to benefit one or two individuals. Or when there is bribery and corruption. Or when ministers and senior officials have extra-marital affairs. I’m sure you get the general idea.”

I had to admit it was a master stroke — rather than a spokesman who denied governmental improprieties, this one conceded them all. He was a disarming figure, sure to generate laughter and sympathy, and lawsuits hardly ever.

“Why would the government enact a law that it knows will be a blunder?” asked the chief reporter of Dainik Baatcheet (or Daily Chitchat) from the town of Gorakhpur.

“This is the impression,” the Minister agreed at once. “A good government should not make such mistakes. But the history of the world is full of 'mistakes' made by 'good' governments. My Ministry will always recommend that the government commit new and original mistakes as soon as possible.”

“But why commit mistakes?”

“Because, my dear sir, we learn from mistakes. A government that makes no mistakes is a government that has stopped learning. My ministry will regularly release lists of mistakes worth committing. And also mistakes worth repeating.”

“Why repeat a mistake?” asked India Today.

“It is like a lemon,” said the Minister. “Give it one more squeeze, a few more drops come out. We want to learn everything possible from every mistake, and sometimes one has to commit it a few times to get the best banging for the buck, as the Americans say.”

“How many mistakes can your ministry commit at any given time?” came a querulous old voice, (a Parsi food critic, Arindam whispered).

“We do not commit the mistakes ourselves, madam,” clarified Vengayam. “We release lists of approved mistakes that may be made, and farm the work out to selected contractors in a system we call MCT, or Mistake-Commit-and-Transfer, not unlike the Build-Operate-and-Transfer system that we use for super-highways and bridges. In MCT, once a mistake has been successfully committed by an approved contractor, we include it in our gazetted list of mistakes that may be committed by anyone without prior approval or licence.”

“India is a big country, sir,” said the compère of a radio political round-up. “Does your Ministry intend to apologize for all the rubbish that goes in our national life?”

“You raise a good point,” said the Minister, with regret. “We will have to choose our blunders carefully. Simply don't have enough staff yet for all that we have to regret in India. Not easy to find people who apologize well.”

A bubbly young thing from MTV wanted to know what skills went into good regretting. “It's like classical dance,” said the minister. “Expression is everything.”

“Will the honorable minister show us an expression?”

Vengayam laughed good-naturedly. “But I must find something to regret,” he said, looking around. “Let me see. Perhaps we can regret the freedom of the press. ” He composed his face into a neutral expression, eyes fixed at a point about three feet above the middle of the room, giving me the impression that he was looking straight at me. A shadow settled over his eyes, their edges drooped, as his head tilted a few degrees to his right. His mouth curved downward tragically at some depressing inner thought, and his shoulders hunched, reducing his stature and conjuring up contrition. There was no doubt he was deeply struck by remorse.

The look cleared, the smile returned. “That was Simple Regret,” he said. “We also have Passing Regret, Deep Regret, Deep Shock, Simple Remorse, Deep Remorse, Catatonic Regret, Passing Grief and Intolerable Grief. More expressions will be added depending on the mistake committed.”

Arindam clicked the television shut. “What does this tell you?”

I was sure he would tell me.

“It should tell you that Ishwar Prasad is planning something big and regrettable,” he said, after a few moments.

 


Posted on: August 22 2011

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POETRY:

Quiet Grace

by Delicate Flower Quill-blue

Listen for the silence

as its glorious presence

wraps itself around you -

relaxing and soothing

your very existence.

Healing your being

with its quiet grace -

appreciating each moment

where all noise will be erased.

Meditation and release

provides tranquility and peace,

blessed are the moments of silence.


Posted on: August 21 2011

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POETRY:

No Place Like Home

by Delicate Flower Quill-blue

Tinmen, scarecrows, lions, and dogs -

they all derive from a land they call Oz.

A place where the heartless can learn how to care

and the brainless can learn to think and beware.

The cowards all learn to be brave and roar loud -

to defend to the end, they stick out in a crowd.

But, somehow this place that's so sunny and green

is also filled with some things that are mean.

Witches, black forests, and wizards who preach

with loud scary voices that carry and screech.

I am just a young girl who decided to roam.

I realize now that there's no place like home.


Posted on: August 21 2011

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