Friday, April 14, 2017

From the Way Back

Again, the middle of the month has snuck up on me. Typically, I post a new bit of short fiction around the fifteenth. But I am deep in the dark and spooky drafting cave where the bright flash of short fiction cannot reach. (Translation: All of my writing has been on my current novel in progress, I ain’t been writin’ any shorts.)

The current novel in progress is set in a school of the arts, which has sent me into the land of remembery. Even though I was in the theatre department at my high school, the editors of our literary journal were kind (or pitied me) enough to publish bits of my writing.

I have resisted the urge to edit myself, so here are the bits as originally published in Elan (Douglas Anderson School of the Arts Literary Journal).

Shears and Stripes

We sit in the small stick-shift truck
bumping towards the barbershop
with the candy-striped pole

inside we walk across the soft down of
the newly cropped hair to sit in
the old red chairs lining the wall
with their dull, worn leather
peeling off the seats

we never get our hair cut,
just chatter and jabber for hours
while we nibble on
the chocolate frosted donuts
that only taste good in the
small little shop with
the red and white pole out front.

Note- This poem is about five-year-old me visiting the barbershop with my grandpa. I miss you, Valter Vance.


He talks to me, and it becomes difficult to keep from jumping off the cliff. Even though I hate to fall, I think that eventually someone will catch me at the bottom and make it all worthwhile. But, that someone may not catch me and I’ll fall to the ground. Then I’ll have to pick myself up, wounded though I may be, and come face to face with the person who let me fall. If he let me fall to catch another, I’ll have to face her too. Sitting snugly in his arms, where I know it’s very comfortable to be. We’ll have one last long look and he’ll turn to walk away, carrying the princess in his arms. Then I’ll stand at the bottom of the cliff, watching him go. He might look back, or throw a word over his shoulder that will give me the motivation to turn to the cliff and begin the struggle to climb back to the top.

As I climb I think of the fall, the not knowing if he’ll catch me, or let me drop as he’s done before. I near the top and I swear I’ll never fall for him again. But in my heart I know that all he has to do is say my name, wrap his arms around my waist as he likes to do, or flat-out ask and I’ll gladly jump again. I’m a lemming, only a whole lot worse because I know what I’m doing and what it means when I step off the edge.

I’ve reached the top, and I look down. There he is. It’s been a long time since I’ve seen him, yet it feels like only yesterday. I step closer to the edge to get a better look, thinking all the while, “You’re too close, step away from the edge!” Do I listen? No. I waver there on the edge watching him looking up at me. He holds out his hand. I start to cry as I take the final step over the edge, and I’m falling again, again, again……..

Note- This one is about sixteen-year-old me and that’s all I have to say about that.

What writings do you have tucked away that you might rather forget you ever wrote?

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