other bits of blog

Saturday, April 7, 2012

new home

Hello, all, if there's still anyone out there...

I've moved my blog over to


I will keep this blog around if anyone wants to come see it, but I'll be posting over at Fabella Noctis. You may see some repeated photos or poetry or stories, but I'll try to keep that to a minimum. Hopefully I'll also post more often than I did here...Thanks for sticking with me and I hope you read the new blog!


Wednesday, November 16, 2011


I know haven't posted in forever. If any of you care, you're totally welcome to come after me with pitchforks. I'll try to change my ways. And post more often. 
Sorry about that. 

This won't be long, it won't be tedious, it won't be short, it won't be pathetic. It'll just be. 

briar rose

it’s the strangest thing.
the strangest,
most incomprehensible,

everyone writes about it,
and talks about it,
and pretends to know about it,
but really,
everyone has no idea what it is—
even when they're part of it,
or part of some bigger picture
that they don’t know about.

and it hurts
so much
when its not right.

i know i’ve said this
a million times before,
but why am I not allowed
to say it again?



because i can’t devise a plan
for my own path.
it’s been trodden down so many times
in hopes of finding a clue—
to help me find the way.

there are little sticks and stones
thorn bushes, sometimes,
breaking me,
and even once or twice,
there’s been a tree
right in the middle
and I have to walk around it
into the briar
and the poison
and the ivy.
and i’m all alone.
the path split off from everyone else’s,
and we’re all alone.

but sometimes,

we see roses

blooming between the thorns
and briar
and ivy.

our paths cross
for just a little while,
or we see each other through the leaves
and smile.

and in that one glance,
worlds are exchanged.

and we walk along each other’s paths sometimes
just to get a feel for things
because we can’t make our own decisions

sometimes, too,
i meet up with other people
whose paths connect with mine
or walk right along side it.

and it is in that moment
when everything clicks.

just clicks.

so loudly, you can hear it—
so loudly, you can hear me smiling
from miles away.

that’s love.

right then, when everything clicks,
and something so cliché and beautiful

a robin sings,
or the rain molds itself into a rainbow.

and for the first time, you can see that rainbow.

you can see the vibrant hues,
and it all feels perfect.
because your life was in black and white
and now it’s in color.

but the funny thing about love
is that you never noticed your life was in black and white
because you never even knew that color existed.

it’s like you’re a child again
and everything is perfect,
analyzed in microscopic detail.

you’re seeing the world from a whole new perspective,
and it’s like
you’ve discovered gold.
except it’s better than that.
it’s like you’ve discovered the sky
it’s been blue
over you
for so long,
but you never knew it was there.

you’ve forgotten your path;
you don’t care about it anymore,
because who would care
about fate
or destiny
or whatever doesn’t exist
when the sky
and your hand in mine
is a million times
more beautiful.

it’s all so beautiful

that it hurts
to look

at you.

Thank you, friends. For everything.
I wouldn't be here if it wasn't for you. 

Sunday, October 9, 2011

first but not least

I know I've been promising a story for a long time. But I just haven't posted. 
I've posted poetry, and I've posted photos. 
But no stories. 

So here you go, a late entry to the Merry Fates contest prompted by Frederic Burton's "The Turret Stairs".

The Turret Stairs

  The first step is easy, simple, but pricks like a thorn. There is some trace of disappointment hanging in the air like rot, enveloping you. But this is not so hard as you believe, you can tell, and the disappointment is but your own. You take another step.
  Anger fills you, rage beyond any you have known—and for some petty, insignificant reason. You should be happy; all this is easy. You will climb with no hindrance, no more annoyance. There is no need to feel such things—you are fortune’s fool. You urge yourself on.
  Nothing, nothing—not all the endurance in the world—would have been able to prepare you for this third step. Within you agony erupts like a volcano, bursting and spitting. It burns you, scars you, and wrenches your mind from your body, your heart from your soul, lets life out. There are no words to describe your anguish.
       For a moment after is begins to subside—only barely—you lean against the wall and breathe, slowly, then drag yourself to your feet and step once more.
  This is something new, something different, something strange and sad. It cocoons you, wrapping invisible threads around you and pulling them tight. Your anger, your annoyance, your pain, it is all nothing. You don’t even try to care anymore. You have lost hope and there is no way you will be able to go on. You forget why you have come, forget what you have left behind, forget everything, as the fog wraps itself around you.
       Tears begin to fall, soft and silent and fast, no friendly drop of happiness—even of pain. Pain would be welcome now. Instead there is nothing but you and the sadness, the misery, the emptiness.
       Somewhere beneath the fog, though, is a bit of desperation to go on, to finish, to believe.
  You are hit, as if from a speeding train, trampled by the hope. You barely have time to right yourself before you begin to believe, begin to know, that this is futile. Why bother with hope? It will not help you. Hope is like new snow on a raven’s back—seemingly beautiful and sparkling, but gloomy and dark when truly analyzed. You are a coward.
       Hope is the only thing keeping you alive—hope, a weak, ignorant thing. You once thought you were brave, thought you were the bravest of all. Now you know this is another tree planted by hope. Weak, cowardly hope.
       You were a fool to come here. You will not be able to finish. But because there is no turning back, you might as well go on.
  There is no relief from the weakness and hopelessness you feel; if anything, all it does is increase, seeping through your every thought until you are consumed with the desolation of it all. And the shame. It overwhelms even your pitiful feeling of existence, and soundly, too. You have no right to be here. Why did you even come? There is no use for it. If you could turn back, if you could turn back and erase the memory, the guilt, the humiliation at your easy defeat, you would.
       You cannot.
  Somewhere, someone screams. Maybe it is you. You cannot tell. The next step is so empty, covered almost as if by a cloud, white and soft. You are reminded of your childhood and your home—a warm, soft place—but you cannot understand what you are seeing.
       You begin to turn around, but stop, and sink to the floor. Tears prick your eyes as you try to recall what you have forgotten, try to let the memories surface. Nothing comes. You are alone. You try, too, to remember your name, but it is woe and despair.
       Slowly, you stand and let your tears mingle with the mist. You take another step, but not before everything can come flooding back to you.
  Guilt, raw and aching. Not remorse—not quite—but guilt, as the memories flood through you. Guilt for losing your hope, guilt for berating yourself, guilt for knowing you cannot go on. And then guilt for the things in the past, things you can only just remember. For those you loved. All the pain you’ve caused. All the people you’ve killed.
       It is guilt, shame, disgrace, that you feel. But not remorse.
       You are not sorry for anything you’ve done, really. You are just ashamed of it. If you could relive those moments, you would have done the same. You are not sorry for why you have come. Therefore you will stay yet, and you will go on.
  Others would not hesitate. There are many braver than you who would not hesitate but once on these stairs. Their courage is like flame, buried and woven into their feet. They would not stop. They have loved ones to care about, families to remember, homes to come back to.
       They would take this step with bravery shining like a beacon in their eyes. They would not be afraid of what they feel.
       You are afraid. 
       Because you are not like them.
       And you never will be.
       They would not cry, as you have. They would rise and stand, and be courageous and brave and you cannot. Maybe you are not quite a coward any longer, but you will never be like them. You will never have that foot of flame, that sweetheart to cherish, that home to spend your life in. You will always be alone.     
       So you might as well be alone here.
  It doesn’t matter that you know you are alone. It doesn’t matter that you know you will never be loved, cherished, revered like those who have blazing steps and eyes like lanterns. The tenth step fills you with an odd feeling of desire, of want. Maybe of need.
       The craving burrows under your skin like a bug, prickling and itching and begging you to scratch. And though you try, the nuisance is to far below the surface. You cannot reach it.
       All alone on the stairs you ache to be one of the lucky ones, long to be loved, yearn to have a home and a family.
        You will ignore this itch. It is just an itch, after all. You may not be the bravest—but you will be brave enough to survive without love. Besides, what must be shall be, and you will change nothing by wanting. You take a step and try not to scratch.
  You begin to cry. Not with pain—not even with sadness, really—but with something deeper than the physical, deeper than the emotional. It is bright and windy, stormy. Rain makes tears fall from your eyes, lightly. Then heavier and heavier until you they will not stop.
        No one loves you.
        It is such a simple statement, so often writ or spoken in children’s books, so well known in stories. Yet it puts out your thought and your wit, and burrows deep, deep down, making tears fall like rain. Because it is true. You are alone. No one loves you. You do not even want anymore. You despair and you cry and you cry.
    And then you stop.
    And you try to take a step.
  Stumbling lightly, you are overcome with less than despair, but more than want. It is a nagging, painful wound, the loneliness of these stairs and your life. You are simply, utterly alone with no one to care for and no one to care for you.
        You are alone, but you will not let the loneliness get in your way. It is a minor thing, and you can take the next step.
        Besides, if all else fails, you yourself have power to die.
  Fear me not, something whispers to you. Fear me not. Do not be afraid. You cannot tell if this voice is part of the test or merely in your own mind.
        But either way, you are afraid. This thought is budding within you, and—as if on queue—your heart begins to pound and your hands start sweating. You shake, fast and hard, and your breath comes in quick little gasps.
    Afraid. So afraid.
    You think back to the previous steps and sink to your knees, still trembling with fear. Fear that you will be alone forever. That you will fail and die on these steps. That you will never be loved—or love. You are afraid of yourself and what you can do.
    So terribly afraid.
    Fear me not, you whisper to yourself. You will believe it, for the time being. But your hand will not stop shaking and your heart will not start pounding.
    The next step comes and you are still afraid. So afraid.
  Blood is everywhere. The people you have killed lay before you, and your choice to climb these stairs haunts you and haunts you.
        And you are sorry.
        This time, you are sorry. It is not guilt you feel, but regret. Remorse. Ruefulness. You see to children, palm to palm, dancing. You watch yourself leave without saying goodbye. You are sorry for leaving. And you are ashamed.
        Maybe you will not be able to reach the top. Or the bottom. Or wherever you are climbing. You are not sure anymore.
        But you know, now, that you are sorry. You shouldn’t have come, but at least you are sorry. And at least you will go on.
    The moment you have what you wished for, you wish you had never come.
        You are loved. Now, you are loved. You hear screams and tears and yells. You feel pain and hurt and loss. It is no good thing to be loved. It is too rough, too boisterous, to painful. You breathe in the scent of love, and cough it up, choking on it.
        You want to defy the stars and run and run and run from love. To think you once wanted this. To think you needed love.
        Love is pain and fear and hurt.
        Maybe you can withstand the stairs, but you will not be able to withstand love.
        And here, at the top or the bottom or the end, you know, with a certainty you have never possessed, that there are still so many more steps to take.
And, to follow along with the theme of writing too many short stories but not posting them, here's another one. A sad one. But a good one. 
Light reflects off of dull, once-painted metal covered in blood in a very specific way. I’ve never seen anything like it.
    And believe me, I should know. I’ve seen more than my share of strange things.
    It’s almost red—the light—or maybe orange, watered down by sunlight. It casts a red splotch on the sky, and the people, darker in some places where the blood is thicker, and lighter in spots where the ooze has dripped down, down, down, pulled by gravity to pool on the luscious green of the new grass below. Pulled by gravity to wait for someone to come and find it, to scream, to run, to faint. To stand and stare, a single tear falling gently, unbeknownst to the crier, down their cheek.
    When I first saw the red shadow in the sky, I swear it looked like roses. Red, scarlet roses. Beautiful roses.
    Then I looked up at the merry-go-round.
    And I didn’t think the blood looked like roses anymore.

“Gem? Hey, Gem! Mama says to come down!”
    I don’t want to answer. Why should I bother answering? Why should I bother to care?
    So I don’t. I stay locked, glued to her bed, my head in the precise spot she used to sleep in. It’s still dented from her tiny, beautiful head of curls.
    “Peili,” I whisper so quietly I can barely hear it, “where did you go?”
    I am choking on the effort of holding so many unshed tears inside.

Her favorite color was bright yellow. Most little girls like pink and purple—or maybe even blue or something.
    She liked yellow.
“It’s banana yellow!” she used say sternly, her little crimson mouth puckering up in a bossy expression, her green eyes shining. She would puff up her cheeks when she was angry, and purse her lips like that. Then her tiny fingers would begin frantically twisting and groping around her tight, thick reddish-blonde curls, and she would tremble all over.
No one could comfort her but Mama or me, and when she began crying, only I could convince her everything would be okay.
But it wasn’t.
Oh, God. What have I done?

I don’t remember being little. Why don’t I remember being little? Did my parents brainwash me or something? Or am I just abnormal?
    All my friends can remember first grade, and third grade, and that random time we did a horrible group book report and how Trisha punched Janet on the last day of second grade.
    I don’t remember it.
    I used to, when I had Peili around—Peili jumping on the bed, Peili tossing her curls, Peili wearing some new ridiculous princess outfit.
    Now, I don’t remember being little.
    Peili would have answered, “Gemmy! Of course you do! You just have to try to remember, okay? You have to want to remember!”
    But maybe I don’t.
    Maybe I can’t.

I squash my face into her pillow so hard I think the bone in my nose splinters—or maybe not. I can’t really feel it anymore.
    Or anything else.
    I’m numb all over, and not that sort of tingly numb you get when your foot falls asleep, or even when your injected with that big, fat needle and your skin gets all puffy.
    I don’t feel anything
    but guilt.
    It was all my fault.

If I knew where Peili is, I’d write her a letter. She’d be able to read it—she always told me that she learned to read my handwriting before real letters.
    But you know where she is.
    So tell her I’m sorry. Tell her I should have been watching.
    Tell her I can’t forgive myself. I’ll never forget this. Tell her it’s okay if she hates me for it.
    Tell her she doesn’t have to forgive me.
    Tell her I think about her every single night and every single day and every single second.
    Tell her I hate myself.
    Tell her I can’t forgive myself.
    No, don’t tell her that. It’ll just worry her. She always played mom with me. Tell her I’m fine. And I’ll be okay. Really. Please?
    Maybe I won’t be, but—
    God, I can’t lie to Peili. Tell her everything I said, if you want. It’s your choice.
    Just, please, please, please tell her I’m sorry.
    And tell her I miss her.
    Tell her I really do.

“Gem, please stop. I forgive you. It wasn’t your fault.”
    “It was. You know it. I wasn’t watching you.”
    “But I was the one who fell.”
    “Oh, Peili! Don’t say that! It wasn’t your fault!”
    “Well, it wasn’t yours, either…It wasn’t anyone’s.”
    “Peili, wait! Where are you going? Stay, please!”
    “I love you.”
    “I love you, too.”

“Gemma, darling, come and have something to eat.” My mother’s voice seeps through the wood like wet—penetrating and sticky.
    “I’m not hungry,” I answer, but I don’t know if she can hear it. My face is still stuffed into the pillow.
    “Sweetie, please!” Her voice breaks and I think I hear thick, fat tears. “It wasn’t your fault—it wasn’t anyone’s. You know that. You need to come and eat, please. You need to forgive.”
    I turn away.
    That is exactly what Peili told me.
    My eyes are on fire.
    I’m not crying.
    I won’t cry.
    I don’t answer and I don’t come down.

I want to dream again. I wonder if Peili was really there.
    But I think it was just a dream.
    I curl up on the bed, my arms hugging my chest too hard. My head is bent down to my knees and I hurt all over.
    Golden flames twist and leap in my eyes, sparkling and gulping, swallowing. Their teeth gnash against my pupils, their tongues flick into the whites of my eyes and eat me, burn me, melt me into a thousand tiny droplets of fire. Slowly, slowly, ever so slowly.
    I will not cry. I will not cry.

I am asleep again. Peili is not there. I hear no voice, see no strawberry curls. Everything is
black and hollow. The darkness is swallowing me, suffocating me, pressing in on me and
folding and crushing and killing. I cannot breathe.
    Little bits of red flit before my eyes. Red stains populate the sky.
    Everything is spinning and spinning, too fast to see anything but red and black and dark.
    I am holding onto metal and my hands are bloody.
    And then I am falling into darkness, forever. Falling, falling, falling. Falling. Falling.

My eyes snap open audibly. I can hear my eyelids pop and crackle like breakfast cereal.
    My eyelashes are dry.
    I see red. And flaxen curls.
    I squash my face into the pillow again and try not to breathe.

“Remember how, when I was sad, only you could comfort me?”
    “Yes. I don’t like where this is going, Peili.”
    “You have to comfort yourself right now.”
    “I don’t deserve comfort.”
    “I have to go.”
    “I’ll miss you. Please come back. I love you.”

She is gone.
    My room is dark—night has crept in through the cracks in the windows, and the stars are choking with clouds. There is no moon tonight.
    I curl up again and hurt. My eyes are glowing and my body is hot.
    I will not cry.
    But Peili is gone. And I am all alone.
    I fall asleep gently, my eyelids fluttering open at every sound. When the darkness finally envelops me and I am no longer in that in-between state where your body is asleep but your mind roams the corridors of your thoughts, I toss and turn restlessly, dreamlessly, and stay quietly asleep, listening to the deafening pounding of my heart and Peili’s labored breaths.

It was so blue, everywhere. Turquoise seeped into the grass and stained it dark aquamarine, and the sky was so deep I couldn’t quite breathe right.
    The playground was alive with sound and shape and color—a surge of beauty and innocence. Children screamed and laughed, leaping off swings, pouring down slides in torrents, running everywhere.
    We walked quietly, smiling, laughing a little. Enjoying the stunning day. We were heading for the merry-go-round spinning in the breeze, empty of children.
    Peili danced her way there. Her reddish, golden swirls and ringlets of hair flew around her, dancing along.
    I followed slowly, walking carefully, smiling after Peili.
    She jumped up onto the merry-go-round, swung her leg over one side of a bar, sat down. Her face curled into an expectant grin not unlike her dancing tresses.
“Gemmy!” she yelled, “Push me! Pushmepushmepushme!”
I was smiling big goofy smiles and she was laughing and everything was perfect.
It was sunny and beautifully windy—the breeze whipped my hair as I took hold of one of the merry-go-round’s rungs and began to run, gaining speed as Peili shrieked with delight.
Everything was so perfect, so ordinary.
And then I saw Wynn, standing so forlorn on one side of the playground. I waved to him, beckoned him to come over. He loved Peili.
But Wynn didn’t see my flapping hand, and so I let go of the merry-go-round for a brief second, knowing Peili would be fine. She would be—
And I didn’t see her fall. I was running to Wynn, smiling, yelling, and I didn’t think to look back. I didn’t think in a million years she’d fall. I didn’t think she could.
But she did.
And I wasn’t even there to watch her die.

“Shhh,” she whispers so quietly, so gently. “Shh, Gemmy.”
    “Peili? Oh, Peili. Peili. Peili, I—I remembered. I’m so sorry.”
    “I know. But you don’t need to be. You didn’t do anything wrong.”
     “Peili, of course I did. You remember, too. I didn’t watch you. And—and you fell.” I am crying now, finally crying, so fast and hard and terrible I don’t think I will ever stop. The tears sting and burn more than holding them in ever did. Breaths catch in my throat and I gasp.
    “Gem. It wasn’t your fault. It wasn’t your fault.”
    “I—I—” I falter, breaking off, and give another wrenching sob so deep in my chest that it must be buried under mountains. I try to breathe, try to breathe, try—
    “I know,” I murmur.
    I can feel Peili smile, and I feel her letting go, and, in the one brief second before the sickening crash, for once in my life, I am flying. Peili is at my side, and we are flying, flying, flying. I am flying. 
And there you are. 
Falling into the leaves as they trickle from their branches, stained ochre, and drop to the ground. 
I love autumn.