Big Yellow Taxi

Joni Mitchell sang, “You don’t know what you’ve got till it’s gone.”
‘Course, she was talking about Paradise and parking lots,
But, you know, I’m thinking she was talking something else,
Like family, and friends, and even me.  Yeah, maybe even me.

But that assumes one cares what comes and goes.
You said you don’t, but I didn’t believe you. 
I thought that you knew what you had.
I was wrong, but like Joni said, don't it always seem to go?

So this is me, climbing into my big yellow taxi,
Off to find a parking lot with a pink hotel
And a  boutique and a swinging hot spot
And maybe even Paradise where…  well, you know.


This was written for One Shot Wednesday.


Holiday Haiku

what’s the perfect gift? 
doll for Susie? truck for Tim?
shopping, choosing, that!

wrapping and tying
ribbon, paper everywhere
fun beside the tree

hanging ornaments
stringing lights from here to there
living room aglow

friends come to carol
kisses neath the mistletoe
eggnog, cookies, yum

holiday greetings
stamped and mailed both near and far
season’s love to share

and to all of you
I send love, good wishes too
happy holidays!

Written for One Shot Wednesday.


Cool, Dude.

Very cool.  Like a-very-dry-martini-in-a-frosty-glass-sipped-to-a-soundtrack-of-Miles-Davis-blowing-Blue in Green; like Ginsberg-reciting-Howl-at-Caffe Mediterraneum.  That kind of cool.  Way too cool to ever speak of it, because, well, that just wouldn’t be cool.

There was a point when we all wanted to be like them.  Shit, we wanted to be them.  Because they were so… well, you know.  We bowed at the altar of Nietzsche and Kierkegaard.  We went around talking about what the meaning of life would be, if life meant anything to us.  We listened to Chet Baker while we smoked and got drunk on cheap vodka.  We dreamed of a garret in Paris, when we weren’t talking about how we were of Everywhere and eschewed the cliché of “roots.”  We nodded sagely as Peggy Lee asked, “Is that all there is?”

Did we really believe all this stuff?  Who the hell knows? I suspect not.  But being so damned cool, we never questioned each other, let alone admitted  that, deep inside, we might be wondering, “Really, is that all there is?”

That was then.  And this is now.

Most of us grew up.  Oh, not all of us, that’s true.  Some of the really cool ones remained true to the anthem.  Many of them died, casualties of the war against the establishment or their trip to find meaning, a trip fueled by Wódka Luksosowa or LSD.

The rest of us eventually joined the reviled establishment, probably driven by the recognition that having a gnawing hunger in our bellies wasn’t all it was cracked up to be.  Our sell-out started slowly, perhaps a job washing dishes in that coffee house in the East Village, but as things on a roll will do, it gathered steam. We met our soul-mate, a kindred free spirit, and talked of wandering together. Just as soon as we had a few bucks.  But inevitably, there was another mouth to feed.  And the next thing we knew, we were working for The Man, paying down a mortgage, and driving a Ford.  I think they call it maturity.

Looking back, I see that all our cherished individuality was a sham. We numbered in the thousands, and we were all pretty much the same, a band of faceless robots trying so hard to feel nothing.  We dressed alike; we lived in the same lofts and basements; we wrote the same bad poetry of our despair.  

I thought it was a phenomenon of the time, a product of being in the vanguard of a generation born under the threat of The Bomb. But I was wrong, because they are still out there, those robots.  Oh, they dress differently, listen to Death Cab for Cutie, drink Yellow Tail and write better poetry.  But they are us.

I wish I could save them their lost years.  But I see now that it must be a rite of passage.  The Self can’t be found without being lost first.

Whoa, that’s heavy.  Very cool, Dude.

This was written for the Tenth Daughter of Memory.


The Intervention

I wish I could tell you it was because of the holidays.  Because I’m here to tell you that there ain’t nothin’ much worse than being outta work during the holidays.  And that’s what I was.  A guy with no job, no money, no prospects, and a family with expectations.

Yeah, that would be reason enough for most anybody, right?

Who could blame me?  I felt like I was betrayed, led down the assembly line like an lamboid to slaughter. 

I mean, didn’t the company make promises when I hired on? Wasn’t this supposed to be “a new era in manufacturing?”  Didn’t they say me and my pals was the new face of the industry?  Weren’t we gonna to make cars like nobody ain’t seen before, what with us being all -- what was it they said? – we was all “programmed precision” or some such crap?  Oh, yeah, that’s what they said, all right.  

But it ain’t what they meant, nossir.

What they meant was that now that they got rid of the union people and replaced them with us, they were gonna be rolling in dough.  And that dough was gonna go straight into their pockets.   
That's what they meant.

We didn’t need no health care insurance.  We didn’t take vacations or complain about working conditions.  We didn’t even need a union of our own.  At least that’s what we thought, us being so freakin' machine-smart and all.

The only one who ever had doubts about the company line was poor Norma Raybot.  Turned out she wasn’t such a dumb cyberblond after all.  We shoulda listened to her when she tried to get a union going.  But look what it got her.  Nobotty supported her, and she was taken off-line faster’n you can say “Jackie Robotson.” 

Them and their “new era.”  Hah.  The name of this great new era is greed.  In my processor of processors, I was glad when it all came apart for the bastards.  I woulda been cheering when I heard that word bankrupt, except that it landed me on the scrap heap along with the rest of the guys.

Yep, the way I  figure it, that would have been reason enough.  But I can’t really use it as an excuse.  Not if I’m honest.  Truth be told, I had developed a taste for the sauce long before the factory closed and I found myself out on the street.  It’s just that being on the outs gave me more time to grease my whistle.

And that’s pretty much how I had spent the day.  When I wobbled home that night, there they were, a bunch of humanoids in white coats, waiting for me.  “This is an intervention,” they said.  “It’s for your own good.” 

And that’s when they pulled out screwdrivers, and came at me.

“Wait, stop,” I said.  And still they came.

“I woulda found work eventually.  I woulda cleaned up and got sober.  I coulda stopped anytime,” I pleaded, backing way.

“I’m not a drunk, real…”  Click.  Click. Glub.


This was written for the Tenth Daughter of Memory, where the current prompt is "Extreme Robot Vodka." (Yes, really.)


I Am

I am passion
Kindled with suggestion
Ignited by desire.

I am conception
Formed by combustion
Building toward completion.

I am creation
Delivering new hope
Packaged as love.

I am you.


This is my offering for One Shot Wednesday.


The Final Ride

One day at ten, you climb aboard.
The hill thrills you to your core.
A running start and off you go.
Whee! Into the wind you soar.

You hold on tight and rocket down.
The ride is wild; it gives you quite a rush.
All too soon, the bottom’s reached.
So back to the top, and again a mighty push.

Whee! Down and up and down again;
You ride so many days away,
Until, “oh, please, not any more," 
You hear your sore joints say.

One day at “old,” whenever that day arrives,
You climb off your sled, and leave the hill behind.
But at the end you remember, those wildly thrilling rides,
And you ride the hill just one more time, if only in your mind.

Written for Magpie Tales.


Shooting The Breeze

Just for fun. Not mine, but pretty awesome.


Stuck That Way, Part 3

Painting by Van Gogh

(This is the conclusion of Stuck That Way, Part 1 and Part 2.)

Saturday morning, Grandma is still in the hospital.  As we are sitting at the table eating our Rice Krispies, Mama tells us that Daddy has to work, so we’re going to visit Grandma in the afternoon.

“But we can’t, Mama.” I said, “Kids aren’t allowed in the hospital unless they’re sick."  And I’m glad. I really don’t want to go see her.

“I don’t want to go anyway.  I’ve got stuff to do,” Billy adds in a sour voice.

“I’ll have none of that attitude, Billy. Daddy talked to the doctor, and he gave special permission for you to go in and spend a little time with Grandma.  You should be happy they are letting you in. She’s your grandmother.”  I catch Billy rolling his eyes as soon as Mama turns away.

Somehow, I get the feeling that Mama is just saying the words she thinks she should say.  It doesn’t seem like she really means it at all.  I’m pretty sure she doesn’t like Grandma either. 


“I don’t like it here, Mama.”

As we walk down the long hall, our shoes clicking on the shiny linoleum floor, I glance into some of the rooms as we pass them.  They all have at least two people in beds and some of them even have four.  I see bright lights and bandages, and one guy with his leg up in the air with a big cast on it.  Some people have cards and flowers on the window sill.  There are visitors in some of the rooms, but no children.  Everything is glaringly white and it all smells pretty funny.

All around us, nurses swish past in white dresses with stiff little caps on their heads, the rubber soles of their white shoes squeaking on the floor.  Almost every one of them frowns a little when they see Billy and me.  I feel like I just farted in church or something.

“I don’t like it either, Ma.” Billy adds. “This place smells really bad.”

“Stop it, both of you.  Now, listen, I don’t want you to be shocked when you see Grandma.  She’s very weak and she can’t breathe on her own.  So the doctors have her hooked up to a brand new kind of machine that helps her breathe.  Part of it goes in her mouth, so she won't be able to talk.”

Behind me, I hear Billy mutter “There’s a blessing” under his breath. 

Mama turns.  “Did you say something, Billy?”

"Nothin’, Ma.”

We come to a big office-looking place in the hall, surrounded by a counter. There are more nurses behind the counter shuffling papers and writing into the pages of metal notebooks.  Billy and I hang back while Mama stops to talk to one of them.  They are talking in very low voices and we can’t hear what they are saying.  But both of them look at us a couple of times, and I see the nurse nod.

“Okay, let’s go.  The nurse said the other patient in Grandma’s room is asleep, so you need to keep your voices down.”

We walk down the hall a little farther, turn a corner, and stop at a door on the left that’s halfway closed.  Mama gives it a little push and it swings open.

There are two beds side-by-side in the room, each with a woman in it.  Grandma has a hissing machine beside her bed.  She is in the bed farthest away from the door, and in the closer bed, another old lady is sleeping. 

Both the sleeping woman and Grandma have a pole beside their beds, with a bag of clear liquid hanging from it.  There’s a tube that runs from the bag and disappears under the covers.   I don’t want to think about where that tube ends up.

We file into the room and go over to stand near Grandma’s bed.  Mama reaches up, and grabs a curtain I didn’t notice before that hangs near the wall between the beds.  She pulls it and it spreads open to make each half of the room sort of private.

Mama says, “Hello, Mother Lawson.  The children have come to see you.”

Grandma looks like she jumped out of one of those monster movies we go see sometimes at the Capital Theater on Saturday mornings.  She’s all covered up in a white blanket, sort of like The Mummy.  All except for her head. There is a mask thing over her mouth, held on by straps, and a fat tube runs from the mask to the machine that’s breathing beside her bed.  I almost want to look outside the window to find the space ship it arrived in. 

It’s all pretty scary.

Grandma doesn’t look scared though. She looks mad as a mud hen.  Her eyes are glaring and she’s frowning at us like we did something wrong, just like we usually do.

“Hi, Grandma,” I whisper.  I give Billy a little kick, and he mumbles, “Hi.”

Mama starts saying stuff to Grandma, but I don’t think she’s really listening.  She just lies there, glaring at us.  I hate it. 

Then Mama says, “Mother Lawson, Alice and I will be right back. I saw a cart in the lobby where they are selling flowers. We’ll go get you some.  They’ll help cheer up this room a little.  Billy, you stay here and visit with Grandma.”

I really expect Billy to object, but he just says, “Okay, Ma.  I'll just shoot the breeze with Grandma.”  He must be feeling guilty about the bad thoughts he had about Grandma the other night.

Mama takes my hand.  We walk back down that long, shiny corridor and take the elevator to the lobby.  I’m glad to escape that look on Grandma’s face.  Besides, I gotta to pee.

When we get to the lobby, we stop at the bathroom so I can go.  Then we go over to the flower cart.   Mama selects a vase of pink carnations, which I don’t think are going to do much to cheer Grandma up, and we head back upstairs.

When we turn the corner in the hallway, I'm surprised to see Billy standing out in the hall with a nurse.

The nurse comes forward to meet us.  Pointing to an alcove with green plastic chairs a little further down the hall, she says to me, “Why don’t you go sit in the waiting room with your brother so I can talk to your mother?  There's a good girl.”

Mama looks sort of scared   She gives me a little push toward Billy.  “Go ahead, Alice. I’ll be right here.”

As Billy and I walk toward the waiting room, I can hear the nurse whispering to Mama, and then a big crash.  I turn around, and see Mama standing there with a hand pressed over her mouth.  The vase of flowers is broken on the floor at her feet, its water running everywhere.  Then Billy grabs my arm and pulls me toward the chairs.

“Come on.”

“Billy, what’s going on? Why are you out here?  What’s wrong with Mama?”

Billy shrugs.  “Something happened with Grandma. She started to thrash around in the bed.   I don’t know what was wrong with her.  I think that machine hiccuped or something.”  His voice sounds kinda odd.   “I went to get the nurse.  She told me to stay in the hall  and went into Grandma’s room.  She just came out when you got back.  I don’t know.”


Today, the doors to the parlor are open, but, oh, man, I wish they were still closed.  

I’m hate going in there.  Grandma is in there, but at least she’s not yelling at us about anything.  She can’t, because she’s dead.  She’s in the parlor, “laid out” -- that's what Daddy said, honest -- in a casket.  She’s gonna be in there all day, and people are coming in and out to pay their respects, Mama says. 

Billy and I are helping Mama by carrying around trays with cookies and stuff.  I wish I were somewhere else, like in the living room watching television.  But Billy actually seems happy to be helping.  I haven’t seen his eyes roll once.

People go over to look in the casket, which I think is pretty creepy, and as I pass, I hear them say, “She looks so natural.”   I know somebody tried to make Grandma look good. She has on her best dress.  Her hair is all curled, and there’s even makeup on her face.  But to me she still looks like Grandma, only dead, with her face still stuck that way.


This was written for The Tenth Daughter of Memory, where the prompt is "Shooting the Breeze."


Sometimes, in that dream just before dawn,
            I still do the dance,
You know, the one you can only do
            With someone not yet known.
It’s that dance of the meaningful glance
            Filled with promise
And those double entendres that speak
            Volumes more than the words that you say.

You, always a stranger,
            The unknown the enticement.
You smile, place your hand at the small of my back 
            As we stroll through the dark.
I laugh, let my fingertips play lightly on your arm 
            As we chat about life,
 And the World Series and delays at the airport
            And that awful movie we both saw.

But we both know, don't we? The real words remain unspoken: 
             Would you? Should we? Want to? Dare we?
And the rhythms of that music that only we hear give the answer: 
             Yes, oh, yes, let’s.
We dance in the moment, dipping and swaying 
            As the music of flirtation plays on and on in the night.
Alas, just before dawn, as these things always go,
            We exchange a quick kiss, then say goodbye.

Because, after all, it was only a dream.

This was written for The Tenth Daughter of Memory, and was also submitted to One Shot Wednesday.


Stuck That Way, Part 2

Painting by Van Gogh

(Continued from Stuck That Way, Part 1.)

“Alice, Alice, wake up.”  I am jolted from my dream by Mama’s voice.

“Mmmph…  Mama?”  As the sleeps clears from my eyes, I see that Mama's is dressed and has her heavy brown wool coat on. She's crying.  “What’s the matter? Why are you dressed?”  I feel tears coming to my eyes too.

“Sssh, sssh, it’s okay, Alice. But Grandma is sick and an ambulance took her to the hospital.  Daddy and I are going down there now.  I just wanted you to know that Mrs. Franklin from down the street came over, so you and Billy won’t be home alone.  I’ve already told him.  Now go back to sleep.  I’ll see you in the morning.”

She leans down, kisses my cheek and gives me a quick hug.  Than, she turns and leaves the room.  Fully awake now, I listen to her footsteps go down the stairs.  There is murmuring in the front hall, and then the front door closes.  After a minute or two, I jump from my bed and go to the window. I pull the curtain back just in time to see the taillights of our old car disappearing into the snowy night.

When I can’t see them any more, a lump rises in my throat, and I feel like I’m going to cry.  I wish I could say it was out of sadness for Grandma.  But that would be a lie.  To be honest, I’m not sure why I feel like crying.  But I’m kinda scared.   I get back in my bed, and hug my pillow. 

I try to go back to sleep, but I can’t.  I get out of bed and tiptoe down the hall, carefuly avoiding the creaky boards I know are waiting there to give me away.  I slip into Billy’s room,  being as quiet as I can so Mrs. Franklin won’t hear me and come upstairs. Mrs. Franklin is nice enough but she’s as old as Grandma.  If I don’t understand why I am upset, how can I expect her to understand?

I whisper right into the ear I can just see above the patchwork quilt he’s got pulled up nearly over his whole head. “Billy?” 

When he doesn’t answer, I poke him a good one in the shoulder, and try again.  “Billy. Are you awake?”

“I am now, Brat,” he answers.  “What do you want?  Hey, are you crying?  What the heck?  Is this about Grandma?  Ma said she was gonna be fine, which is too bad in my book.  I wish the old battle-ax would just kick the bucket.”

Billy.” Even though I sort of wished the same thing myself, I am shocked to hear Billy say it out loud.

“I’m scared,” I whisper.  “Can I get in bed with you?”  If Mama and Daddy were home, I’d be climbing into bed with them.  But Billy is better than nothing, plus he has a double bed.  There’s plenty of room for both of us in there. 

“Oh, criminy.”  I can’t see his eyes in the dark, but I know he’s rolling them.  Ever since he became a teenager, that seems to be his favorite expression.  He’d better be careful. What if his eyes get stuck that way and roll around for the rest of his life?

With a huge, dramatic sigh, Billy holds up the covers and says, “OK, but stop being such a baby and go to sleep.  And stay on your own side, for Pete's sake.  I’ve got football practice tomorrow, and I need to sleep.  Besides, there’s nothing to be scared about.  If we’re lucky, maybe we’ll get some good news tomorrow.”

I jump into bed with him, and pretty soon, I’m falling asleep.  As I drift off, in my most secret heart, I’m hoping he’s right.


The next morning, Billy's alarm clock jars me awake with its clanging.  "Wake up, Alice," he says, as if I could still be asleep after that racket.  "I think Ma's probably still sleeping after being out so late.  Be real quiet."

We take  turns using the bathroom like we always do, and head downstairs downstairs when we're dressed for school.  When Billy and I walk into the kitchen, we're surprised to find Mrs. Franklin is still here, bustling around the kitchen in one of Mama’s aprons.  Her dress looks like she slept in it -- well, I guess she did -- and  her wiry gray hair is sticking out every which-a-way.  Like Daddy sometimes says about me, she looks like something the cat dragged in, which is not like her at all.  Still, she tries to act normal.

“Good morning, children,” she chirps.  “Your parents are still at the hospital, so I get to make you my favorite breakfast.  Let's hurry now. You don't want to miss the school bus.”

With a flourish, she puts a platter of pancakes and bacon down on the red-checked oilcloth covering the kitchen table.  A pitcher of syrup already waits there, along with two glasses of milk.  Billy and I give each other a look.  Pancakes.  On a Wednesday. We hardly ever have pancakes, not even on weekends.  

Billy and I are just finishing eating when we hear Mama at the front door.  She stops long enough to hang her coat on one of the coat hooks in the hall and exchange snowy boots for her worn house slippers.   Then she comes out to the kitchen, looking even worse than Mrs. Franklin.

“Mama, you look…” Billy pauses in mid-sentence when he realizes what he was about to say. “…tired.  Where’s Daddy?  How’s Grandma?”

“Not too well, I’m afraid.  She’s pretty sick.  I guess she is going to be in the hospital for a while.  Daddy is still there with her.”

She turns to Mrs. Franklin.  "Thank you for coming over, Mrs. Franklin.  I can't tell you how much I appreciate it," Mama says as she takes the apron Mrs. Franklin is holding out to her and ties it around her waist.

"Oh, there now, Dear, I was happy to help.  I do hope Mr. Lawson's mother will be alright.  Now I'll just be heading home.  If you need me again, please just call."

She says goodbye to Billy and me, and she and Mama walk down the hall to the front door.  As I clear our dishes from the table and put them in the sink, I catch a glimpse of Mrs. Franklin tying a scarf around her head and pulling on gloves. After closing the door behind her, Mama returns to the kitchen, saying, "Coffee. That's just what I need."

She fills the percolator with water.  As she spoons the coffee into its metal basket, Mama tells us about Grandma.

"It has something to do with her sugar," she explains.

She tells us a bunch of stuff the doctor said.  I don’t understand a word she says.  But when Mama’s back is turned, I see a small smile on Bill’s face.

I guess neither one of us is broken up about Grandma being in the hospital.  She is just plain mean, and we don’t like her much.  I think Billy even hates her.  I know that he really gets mad at the way she treats us, especially Mama.

I wish we had a grandmother like Susan’s.  Her Grandma always brings cookies when she visits Susan.  And she even looks like a grandmother should look, all round with rosy cheeks and twinkling eyes.  She’s always ready to hand out hugs along with the cookies, chuckling in that way she has. I don’t think I’ve ever heard our Grandma laugh.

I have to admit, it’ll be pretty nice not having her around nagging and scolding us all the time.  Plus, we get to watch our shows on television.

(Continued in Stuck That Way, Part 3)

This was written for The Tenth Daughter of Memory, where the prompt is :Shooting the Breeze."


Stuck That Way, Part 1

 Painting by Van Gogh

My family lives in a house that used to belong to my Grandma before I was born.  It’s that big old house about halfway down Fenn Street, just off the town common.  It’s the house my Daddy grew up in.

When Grandma moved to her apartment  a long time ago, Mama and Daddy and Billy, who was about five then, moved in here.  Mama still calls it “Grandma’s House” sometimes.  But it’s the only house I’ve ever lived in, and it’s hard for me to think of it that way.  All except for the front room.

Mama always refers to the front room as “the parlor” and I’m not allowed to play in there.  I can’t remember if I ever even sat in it. 

The sliding double doors leading into the parlor are always closed. Every so often, I slide the doors open a bit and peek in.  Inside, the room is usually pretty dark and depressing, the rose-patterned drapes drawn. I often see dust motes dancing in the little stream of light that dares to find its way in through a gap in the drapes. I have a feeling that those bits of dust have the most fun anyone has ever had in the parlor.

The room is filled with tired furniture that seems like something you’d be more likely to find in Grandma’s attic, though why she or anyone else would want to keep it is beyond me.  It looks as unfriendly as the parlor itself. 

A davenport stands against the wall with its back up, hard and uninviting. Little lace doilies, antimacassars, Mama calls them, covers its arms and shoulders as if to say, “I know your hands are dirty, and your hair?  Anything that so resembles a rat’s nest has got to be nasty.”  I always hear Grandma’s unpleasant  voice when I think about those little doilies, which are turning yellow with age just like her hair did.

Across from the davenport are two chairs flanking the fireplace, their backs held straight and tall just like Grandma is always reminding me to hold mine. In the middle of the seating is a coffee table. My best friend Susan has a table like that in her house, but her mom calls it the cocktail table. I’m pretty sure the table in our parlor has never seen a cocktail in its life.  Across the room by the front window is a piano that lost its voice years ago. It’s covered with the doilies’ big sister, a yellowed lace throw on which sits an army of my framed ancestors, all looking as unhappy as the rest of the room.

Beneath it all lays a threadbare oriental carpet, so faded, it’s hard to tell what color it’s supposed to be.  How the rug ever got so threadbare is a mystery to me, since no one ever walks on it. 

I don’t much like that room and I guess Mama and Daddy don’t either, because we never use it. The only person in my family who seems like they like they might be comfortable there is Grandma.

We spend most of our time in the bright room at the back of the house that opens off the kitchen.  Daddy says it used to be called the summer kitchen, but we call it the living room.  Hey, maybe it’s called “the living room,” because we pretty much live in it.  Billy and I do our homework there while Mama cooks supper, the smell of chicken and dumplings or meatloaf swirling around us.  

After supper, we all used to sit around the Philco in the living room and listen to the The Green Hornet and The Great Gildersleeve before bedtime.  Now that we have a television, the radio has fallen silent, except for ironing day.  Mama still listens to Stella Dallas and The Brighter Day while she irons. 

Billy and I get to watch two shows on television every night before bedtime. My favorite shows are Sky King and My Little Margie.  Billy likes to watch cowboys and Indians, especially The Lone Ranger.   Billy is fifteen, nearly four years older than me, so he gets to stay up later.  But one night a week, I can stay up longer. That’s the night Bishop Sheen is on television.  He’s pretty boring, but I like to watch for the angel who wipes off his blackboard. 

Can you imagine any of that stuff happening in the parlor?  Me neither.

Most of the time, we have pretty good fun.  Well, except for the days when Grandma visits.

Grandma doesn’t approve of the television, and she’s not real happy with the radio, either.  Now that I think about it, she’s not really happy with anything.

“You’re going to turn those children’s minds to mush, Mary,” she scolds my mother as if she were still a kid herself.  “Mark my words.  Besides, television is the doorway to the Devil’s workshop.  It’s just plain evil, I tell you.  In my day, children knew how to read.”

Sometimes, she’s so mean to Mama, I can tell she’s about to cry. 

I especially hate when Grandma comes for supper.  The food we have to eat when she is there is just plain yucky.  Mama says she has the sugar disease, whatever that is.  Sometimes, she even has to have shots and stuff.
All I know is that it means she can’t have anything good to eat. And if she can’t, we can’t either.  I know Grandma must hate being sick, but she doesn’t have to take it out on us.  And, boy oh boy, does she ever.

“Billy, get your elbows off the table.”

“Stop slouching and sit up straight, Alice.  And wipe that frown off your face, Young Lady. If you’re not careful, your face is going to get stuck that way.”

Nope, the days when Grandma comes aren’t much fun at all, even in the living room.

She’s right about one thing, though.  Your face does get stuck that way.

(Continued in Stuck That Way, Part 2)


This was written for The Tenth Daughter of Memory, where the theme is "Shooting the Breeze."


Shooting the Breeze

I met the others on the field.

We came with weapons,
Sharpened, at the ready,
Gathered on common ground.
In dawn’s early light,
After long sleepless nights
We stood and took aim,
Another’s target in sight.
With voices kept active
And tense ever present,
We fired our best shots,
And hoped our bons mots
Would find their way home.


This was written for the Tenth Daughter of Memory.