LETTERS TO MY BOSS – FIFTY WORD STORY

I carried the boxes. I wiped the sweat as it dripped from my dirt-riddled brow—yet it was you who carried the weight of the vacations. The sunny beaches were your burden to bear; plagued by the pains of having to shake sand from your sandals before reentering your suite.

——

 

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PICKING PLUMS

Five women were picking plums from the ground. Four were doing the actual work. They were carrying swollen bags of fruit, bent over to pile more on top. One, presumably the hardest worker, had already abandoned her bag and was continuing to catch the remaining morsels in her apron. Two others had wandered off in the distance as the plums became harder and harder to find. The fourth was grabbing the last few in the foreground, when she happened upon a sullen, black rock.

The fifth woman was standing with a platter in the center of it all. She was dressed differently than the rest. Her apron was white, and where the others wore a red over-coat, she bore no such garment. Her eyes darted between the women, but returned to the girl standing in the foreground. Her face was a mix of contempt and anguish, as if the girl had done something to wrong her that she couldn’t speak of in front of the rest of the women.

The platter she carried was a small, black platter, perhaps of well-polished, painted wood, or porcelain. It contained plums that looked similar to what the other women were picking, yet they appeared to be the deep color of overripe fruit and, perhaps, were for reference only.

I liked to think, as I passed by, that she was the headmaster’s wife. She was angry at this girl for having slept with the master, and had taken her anger out on her group of maids as a whole. In the heat of day, she had forced them to pick bags and bags of fruit—so many that they had run out of the massive bags, and yet still she made them relentlessly continue. It looked as though they had picked the orchard nearly clean, too. I think they would have kept picking too, had things not changed as I walked out of view.

A sharp cry echoed from behind me, followed by the soft thumps of a dozen or so fruit. I heard footsteps rushing through the woods, then a heavy thud of a rock against something. The footsteps stopped. Two, three, four more times the rock came down, and with each thud emerged a sickening crunch.

When I finally decided to turn back, the grove had been emptied. No bags were anywhere to be seen, nor any women, though there were two patches of plums. The first was far in the distance, where the two women had gone off in search of more. It appeared they had dropped a small handful from their bags as they left, which had rolled harmlessly for a few feet before stopping. The second patch was less fortunate. A dozen plums, much deeper purple, had smashed onto the ground; splattering across the floor. The pulp and juice seeped from beneath the little heads, creating a pool of matter that mixed in with the dirt as they rotted.

——

 

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GALE (AND OTHER HAIKUS)

Privacy

I sat on a bench

confessing love, while a bird

watched me from a branch.

 

Regrowth

The patch of green grass

growing from dead dirt reminds

that life will go on.

 

Narcissus

They were so busy

staring at their reflections

they missed the white fish.

 

Disown

A doll made of sticks

lies in shambles in the dirt

as the girl stomps off.

 

Gale

A wind this restless

engulfs the valley in fear.

Even the stones shake.

——

 

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THE JOKER

You can’t laugh your way out of this one.

The walls are closing in on all sides

at the family dinner table

that treats you like a hospital patient.

 

You’re shackled to that fork and knife,

the silver gauntlets that force-feed you

under the pretense of a household bonding;

yet one bad joke and it’s off to your room.

 

The Arkham Asylum, as you’ve named it,

where your solitary confinement

hides the hurt with a jacket of hugs

and your parents get to be the Batman

who locked you there for treatment.

——

 

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LOVE POEM #66 – HERE COMES THE STORM

It always starts with the clouds

seeping in after a long day’s work.

You won’t spot them,

as you mutter about the dishes,

if you don’t look out the window.

 

Your morning of watery coffee

and soggy granola will grow damp

when you go to rinse your bowl

and catch their cup on the counter,

left, empty, in the hustle to their car.

 

Then it’s your turn to pop the cover

on your two-person umbrella

and slog down the road, lost

in the downpour of your own thoughts.

 

Work will hide the sounds of the storm.

The pencil scratches drown out your personal life,

and only the occasional crack of lightning

will shock you from your presentation.

 

But the walk home finds a tempest in full motion,

the wind, the rain, and the river flooding the sidewalk

choke out all other thoughts, and all you can focus on

is that goddamn cup they left on the counter again

sitting expectantly, for you to clean up.

——

 

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DERAILED (AND OTHER HAIKUS)

Sympathizers

Wolves ambushed walkers

who were enjoying the day.

They blamed the walkers.

 

Oppression

The debts have been paid,

and iron shackles removed,

yet they still suffer.

 

Tunnel Vision

The Cyclops reared back,

blind to the malice he’d forged

by fighting heroes.

 

Derailed

In dusty ruins

lies the failing of progress:

derailed by pride.

 

Rooting

Do you think sinners

saw their blasphemy rooting

in their prejudice?

——

 

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LOVE POEM #52 – SATIATED

I didn’t think I’d write a poem

that was fueled by hatred

but I think it’s about time

that my hate was satiated.

 

Or that I was appreciated

or that you reciprocated

 

‘Cause this whole time

I’ve been pulling strings

so your pain could be

alleviated;

 

and I’ve been deflated,

like a popped balloon.

 

Who knew that it would end so soon?

That you would play me like tune

and I’d be playing the buffoon?

 

Now every time you’re in the room

I can’t help wishing for your doom.

 

For someone to come in,

take you out, and

leave you buried

in a tomb.

 

Too much?

 

Well let me say it without a doubt:

You better get the extinguisher

‘Cause now the fire’s coming out.

 

You told me that your love was free

but all you did was sell me pain

and now you’ve put that blame on me

so you can watch me go insane.

 

You watched me

kill, murder, maim, shoot, slay, and torture,

while you

still furthered pain, out making disorder.

Saying

we were a thing; that I gave you a daughter,

but when that beauty popped out

I knew I wasn’t the father.

 

So go to hell.

——

 

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SWAYED (AND OTHER HAIKUS)

Foolish

I have found, in love,

That being brave is akin

To being a fool.

 

Swayed

The Dean Martin Sway

Creates an infectious mood.

Reminds me of you.

 

Out of Time

The automatic

Ticking of my Burei watch

Is growing slower.

 

Alliteration

All authors avoid

Alliteration as an

Ant avoids a boot.

 

Intent

The mind of murder

At the crossroads of passion,

Blistering with hate.

——

 

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TOO MUCH TO DRINK

Maybe I shouldn’t have had that third drink,

‘Cause words are pourin’ out faster than I can think.

The books, the movie, and the love affair;

The times, the weather, and the hooker’s stare.

Suddenly I’ve told them my life story

(Save for the parts that were a bit gory).

I’m breathing heavy and my cheeks are hot;

I’m feeling sweaty and my nose has snot,

And they all look at me with masked disgust

Like I was a braggart consumed by lust—

Like I’d raped and pillaged and tortured men;

And that I could never be one of them.

And maybe not—they are sipping good wine,

While my beer comes from somewhere much less fine.

 

But I would prefer not to be defined

By this cutthroat man and his fiendish kind.

——

 

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RUSH TO THE AIRPORT

I was trying to decide what to talk about today, and then I realized I was super short on time (in fact, I’m typing this in the car as my superior drives us to a meeting)! Which gave me an interesting topic for discussion: rushing. Have you ever rushed? Probably. If not in your adult life, likely as a child your family rushed you at some point, right? And rushing is absolutely the most stressful thing you can experience in the moment.

I have a story to provide an example. My family had decided to go to Montana for vacation, which would end up being an absolute blast. We got up early, packed our bags, and left for LAX. Now, if you’ve ever driven to LAX before, you know how much of a pain that trip is. Regardless, we were about halfway there, and were running just fine on time, when suddenly I look back and realize my suitcase was not packed along with everything else. And that’s got all my clothes in it. For the whole trip. So we turn around, drive the half distance we were out back to our house, and get my bag. At this point, our plane leaves in an hour and a half, and it’s a forty-five minute drive there AT BEST. We’re speeding and bobbing through traffic, have to park in the expensive parking at the airport, and run into the lobby. And the receptionist chides us for being late, and says theres a chance that we, or our luggage, will not make the flight. But we insist, and she lets our bags through their machinery, and we take off toward the security checks. We wait in line, with everyone tapping their feet and what not.

Tick-tock tick-tock. Every minute feels like and hour, and we finally get through the security line and sprint to our loading zone. They’ve already called finally loading, and when I get to the lady taking tickets, she looks as though she were just about to turn away from the desk to close the door to the plane. Luckily for us, she lets us on, and everything worked out. BUT that was exceptionally stressful. And if you’ve ever experienced something stressful like this, you probably know the symptoms. A minor headache, increased heart rate, the feeling that you want to snap at anyone who slights you, even in the smallest way.

So how do you control that? Well, it can be hard, but the best way is to stay calm. Don’t tell yourself to stay calm, because that literally never works (have you every TRIED to relax?! It’s a paradox). Talk yourself through the logic of the scenario, and accept that not everything works out. I mean, we were running through an airport at full speed. Security could have tackled us out of nowhere, or shot us. They don’t know the situation. We could have gotten stuck in traffic, or the plane could have left on time. Or that lady that took our bags could have not let us on the plane. But we were lucky, a little insistent, and it all worked out.

Do you have any tips to dealing with rushing when it happens? Let me know!

——

 

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