Friday Fictioneers for March 18th, 2022

Throughout history, Anonymous has produced some of the best known and loved poetry, art, crime, and mystery. Also, cadavers (aka, John Doe) and AA members.

I’ve considered publishing my next book (also my first) under the Anonymous nom de plume to benefit from his/her/their great success and notoriety. Sometimes, events in my life made me want to be that person: Anonymous.

Today, Her Royal Craftiness, The Princess of Prevarication, Mistress of History, and Duchess of the Storied Squares, Madame Rochelle Wisoff-Fields has teamed with the formerly unknown, but now revealed, Brenda Cox, photo contributor to tempt us into the gated domain of Friday Fictioneers story telling.

Click the pic for a fantasy ride to Rochelle’s castle to learn how to play by her rules. Can you tell your story in one hundred words or fewer? Try it if you dare.

Prompt photo by Brenda Cox. One click away from the Rochelle’s purple world.

Genre: Dark Fiction
Title: My New Home
Word Count: 100

***

Vlad was my goth-looking guide into the witness protection program. As we approached the old ramshackle house I asked, “What is that horrible smell?”

“That’s cadaverine. We spray the perimeter with the ptomaine to keep people away. Only harpies and vampire groupies like it. The death odor attracts buzzards but keeps cartel soldiers, nosey lawmen, and reporters away. You’ll get used to it.”

When I opened the gate, I was struck by the sweet odors of hyacinth and incense. I saw the casket and glared at Vlad.

“Appearances. Protecting people like you is dangerous. Living quarters are underground. Welcome home.”


Look both ways.
Be alert doing good or evil.
Mind the gaps for major life changes.

***

The vampire mansion is a hotlink to inlinkz and more mico-fiction stories.

Sammi’s Weekender #241 (din)

Click on graphic for Sammi’s blog.

shameful silence

early morning sounds
soft, in silent darkness
distracted by clichéd neon din
imprisoned without art,
terrified by evil’s truth.


Look both ways to see and to say.
Mind the gaps of paranoia while seeking better days.

Inspired by S&G’s hymn to resistance, The Sound of Silence.

Sammi’s Weekender #187 (niggle)

Click to go to Sammi’s Blog

Expostulated Love

“I love that man,” was what she said to me,
and “I hate that other one,” her follow-on, bait-switch statement,
that morsel of red herring to mislead my unwanted retort
to her bleating caterwaul. I knew this kvetch ranked
behind turd infected punji sticks in heart and soul.

Niggle not. Poetry is sycophantic art when inoffensive kindness
and socially sensitive ethics are euphemisms for hidden truth.


Look both ways, if he can tell it like it is, I’m also justified.
Mind gaps for expiration of truth.

Sammi’s Weekender (Dire)


From the Universe, I call down a pox upon them.
Dirae with Furiae shall tear their poisonous skin
to feed comrade vultures sitting in shadows of guilt.

Curators of dire curses upon innocents, dealers of death cards,
may shepherds of fools find woeful futures haunted
by those who paid the greatest price to dance with fantasy and lies.


Look both ways seeking answers, but beware
gaps of darkness are where truth is hard and lies come easy.

NaPoWriMo: 30 poems in 30 days (day 6)


Day 6 prompt: write a poem from the point of view of one person, animal, or thing from Hieronymous Bosch’s famous, bizarre triptych The Garden of Earthly Delights. After spending too much time searching the five-hundred-year-old hallucination on wood, I decided on one of two snakes from the left panel.


Blame Game

They could have blamed the moon,
or that unicorn, which never existed,
but no. Let’s go low, they said.

Talking creepy crawlers, snakes,
and fruit peddling serpents make
splendid scapegoats. Why not a goat?

We can’t talk, bark, purr, or bleat.
She points to me, he believes her,
and all hell (right panel pun) happens.

Pin it on snakes, they said. Scary,
but defenseless. Look at panel two’s
big party of naked fruit eaters.

We got the rap for all of that. Sinners
should blame monkeys. At least they
look and act like you people.

And what’s with the guy
growing flowers out his arse?
Who does that that? Not us.

So, what do you get? Panel three.
From a diluted old man
with bad acid in his enema.

Time now to get over it.
Past post-medieval art is fine,
slithering snakes are silent.


Look both ways, or with triptychs, three ways.
Mind the gaps, it’s where the story’s told and the pictures fold.

Click for link.

Poetry: Forgave You – Not

I opened the door and walked into a crowded room.
People, most I did not know, were sitting around,
all seats taken. I had a right to be, and should have been,
invited to the meeting, but since I’m a half-breed — excluded.

Everyone stopped talking and stared at me. I knew I was
the unwanted black sheep in a room of wolves and vultures,
there only to devour carrion and pick the bones of the dead.
Something in my nature delighted in their obvious discomfort.

They declared the meeting over and said I should have
been there. I did not ask the location of my invitation.
I thought, y’all low life vulture mother fuckers,
but I said, “No problem. Things will somehow work out.”

Oh, the sweet feeling of justice and the touch of revenge,
oh, the fine fit of the suit called, we’re even.
Did they think I would not know or gain?
I almost felt guilty for twisting the knife,
but guiltlessly I prompted their pain.
Putting things right feels real nice.

Look both ways in rooms empty or full.
Mind the gaps. That’s where the evil hides.

Poetry: Silence is no Coward

I am strong, but I am tired, Stephen, tired of always having to be the strong one, of always having to do the right thing.” Brenda Joyce, An Impossible Attraction


I’m not always much of anything.
I’ve been an old white man for a long time,
a branded stereotype with good teeth
and a bad attitude,

apparently not supposed to ask for
some things, cuz I am old and white.

It’s okay. Perhaps they’re fucking right.
Equality is in, unless you happen to be
old…
white…
and have what’s left of an old hard on.

Others were (and still are) treated like shit
by white guys. Nazis were, are, white,
male; no fucking idea how old fits.

Some old men are idiots, non-millennial
impotent bastards who hate everyone,
and everything, especially women.
Stereotyped, hairless shit heads
with nothing to do
but make mankind worse.

It’s a tough world, but we can try
to make it better each day.
To make it last.

©Bill Reynolds, 6/13/2019

Look and listen both ways for real equality. At least, don’t be unkind.
Mind the gaps like lifelines with stories to tell.

Poetry: Evil Darkness Denied (NaPoWriMo) Day Thirteen

Today, I wrote a poem about something “mysterious and spooky!” (As the prompt challenge defined it.) I mused the denied duality of human nature as set forth in the classic Jekyll and Hyde, The Strange Case of Dr. Jekyll and Mr. Hyde [1886] by Robert Louis Stevenson. My review of the book is here.

***

Not evil I but you
Live with a darkness
of truth denied with
not to Hide mind
what must be true.

Wretched are you
to ask me to see
a truth as part of I.
Created by god
no evil must I be.

False belief is
the sinless soul
of self-righteous evil,
within you disguised
as good and pure.

As Lanyon needed
Jekyll’s truth to see
from Hyde’s reveal,
to accept the two,
both part of you.

There is no light without darkness,
no good without evil,
no truth without lies,
no life without death,
no two without one.

Seek out truth in you,
of more than half,
balance reality or die
from the only good truth
is really a lie.

© Bill Reynolds, 4/13/2019

Look both ways to find evil and good in you. It is your one and only truth.
Mind the gaps of fear and self-deceit, they hide your Hyde.

“O God!” I screamed, and “O God!” again and again; for there before my eyes—pale and shaken, and half fainting, and groping before him with his hands, like a man restored from death—there stood Henry Jekyll!” Dr. Lanyon’s words and recollection serve as the climax of the story. The question of Dr. Jekyll’s relationship to Mr. Hyde is resolved.

 

Poetry: Too Much (NaPoWriMo) Day 4

Today, the challenge was to write my own sad poem. The sonnet form was to help me – its very compactness might compel me to be straightforward, using plain, small words.

My brother had retired from his job in the WTC North Tower, prior to 911. This reflects his return visit story as he told it to me.

Too Much

His world was changed. A forever new game.
A self that was gone, down with the rubble,
Friends dead, enemies too. Some with no name.
Few bodies found. Just tributes to trouble
Stacked like coffins, empty boxes at best.
One year sooner, this burden he’d have born.
Proud monoliths now dust, ashes and death,
Tombs now shrines to hate, religion, and war.

He stopped and looked up at an empty sky,
His identity lived in rejection.
Innocent of deed, so many had died.
He walked in the familiar direction,
Emotions unknown squeezed him to the bone.
His mind now gone. He turned – could not go on.

©Bill Reynolds 4/4/2019

Look both ways, but sometimes, you just cannot. Gaps can be huge.

 

Essay: Shit Happens

  1. My mother said, “What did I ever do to deserve this?”
  2. My wife looked at my adult son and said, “Everything happens for a reason.”
  3. The minister looked into the eyes of the congregation and said, “There is no such thing as a coincidence.”

I forget the exact contexts and situations.

To my mom I would say, “You did nothing to deserve cancer; no one does.” While there may be reasons someone gets cancer, it is not punishment for being not good enough or for being bad. However, it is no joke that a lot of people think like this because of religion.

To my wife I say that most things have a cause and effect. Many things happen due to natural causes, environments, and special situations. Some things are random and have disastrous outcomes. Shit happens.

When someone is fired from (or not selected for) a job, and they later get a much better job, that is good fortune probably assisted by the fact that the person is well qualified for both jobs and it is fortunate that they snagged the better one. The opposite also happens. While such a comforting phrase may bring minor, temporary solace; it is not true that everything happens for a (supernatural) reason. A spiritual being causing a temporary problem to bring about a happier or sadder outcome fails any common-sense test.

To the minister I say that coincidence may not mean exactly what you think it means. According to one (MW) dictionary it relates to coinciding of events that happen at the same time by accident but seem to have a connection. Better words might be random, arbitrary, pointless, haphazard, or desultory.

Whether one believes in a god or not, and regardless of the influence of any god, those words exist because things and happenings can be random, pointless, and desultory.

I recall reading a poem in Stumbling Blocks or Stepping Stones: Spiritual Answers to Psychological Questions by the late Father Benedict Groeschel. The poem of unknown authorship is titled “The Weaving.” The last of three, eight-line stanzas goes,

At last, when life is ended,
With Him I shall abide,
Then I may view the pattern
Upon the upper side;
Then I shall know the reason
Why pain with joy entwined,
Was woven in the fabric
Of life that God designed.

While the poem is beautiful and weaving as a metaphor for a life designed by a god is useful, it also points to the unknown reason for the suffering in life. It implies that we will find no reason until after death, and then only if we are in heaven with the deity who will, presumably, make it all clear. In other words, it makes no sense.

I prefer this outlook from the song “The Sad Café” by the Eagles.

***
Now I look at the years gone by,
And wonder at the powers that be.
I don’t know why fortune smiles on some
And lets the rest go free
***

Shit happens. It’s not our fault. Blame it on whatever imaginary entity you choose. That may be the only reason you ever find.

© Bill Reynolds 1/10/2019

Look both ways for the reasons in life, but don’t accept not knowing—wonder.
Mind the gaps, they are real, but may be overcome with knowledge.