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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LOVE POEM #74 – SO COLD

Outline for me the love in your blue lies.

Was life so cold between these crimson walls

that you would search for warmth in winter skies?

Are you so conned by the sweet siren’s calls

that you would cast away your canvased life?

My love has birthed for you the finer things,

and you forget so quick that lasting strife

which bound your comely hands in puppet strings.

Then sketch your will with Neptune by your side

await those waves to take you through the light.

You’ll see those shallow waters swell with pride

and drown you in that cerulean night.

Yet when I see you float beyond that door,

I know you’ll wish that you had stayed ashore.

——

 

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THE UNIVERSE

It all started with the Big Bang

careening beyond the blackness,

weaving blue electricity

through the barren void of cosmos.

 

Then came the endless pulse of light

like a cardiac monitor

calling to the cradle of life

for it to be reborn again

 

and from the womb of the stars sprung

the stories of sacred spirits

that stoked our imaginations

like stacks of wood on the fire.

 

Until, at last, the burnt day comes;

where billowing flames unravel

the broken strands of creation

back to the heart of its great beast

 

and out of the blackened ashes

will crawl the Small Song of silence

who will retie the strings of shame

with the ropes of humility.

——

 

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THE EARTH IS STILL

Oh hey! Happy New Year–and happy birthday to me 🙂 A little apocalypse to usher in the new year is always a good sign, right? I hope you enjoy this poem as much as I’ll be enjoying today 😉

 

The Earth is Still

 

The Earth is still.

No more do the tremors

that racked the mountainside

rage through the bones of this wasted land.
Once flowered rivers, who flowed with the heat of spring

—that same heat which pulsed through the heart,

igniting the veins like sparks to a fire,

now lies pierced; cracked and dead as the unending desert.

 

The last lake, dwindled down to a blackened puddle,

sits undisturbed in the silence;

a mirror to these starless nights

painted with brushstrokes of infinite darkness

 

and yet, a trembling lingers.

It sits, in the back of the cavern;

twisting the thumbs of a half-buried corpse

while it whispers into the great beyond.

——

 

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LOVE POEM #72 – THE LETTER

What more can be said after I love you?

The next sentence will always fall flatter

like a wooden block to a bouncy ball,

and yet I always mumble something out.

 

Take this last letter as an example:

a full six sentences followed the spill,

glugging from the water jug of my heart

until the whole page had nearly flooded.

 

The I love you had been washed away, gone,

rinsed clean along with the apologies

and mopped up again by solemn pen strokes

who couldn’t settle for putting three words.

——

 

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BAT SONGS

The shade of bats fluttering in the distance engulfed the lights of the stars, like lines of black paint against the night. The chill metal of the bench was sharpened as they passed overhead; their shrill chatter echoing in my ears. Their beckoning song seemed to call out, “Sleep, Ulysses.”

——

 

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THE HERD (AND OTHER HAIKUS)

The Herd

Beats in the distance

echo along the sunrise

like a veiled drum.

 

Grass

The shift of the blades

as wind washes through the plain

warns of life’s battles.

 

On Water

Walking through puddles

reminds me to imagine

my own miracles

 

Cleansing

Rain can wash away

the bad days. It’s up to you

to let it take them.

 

Night Driving

The trip was swallowed

in the abyss of the night

on the desert road.

——

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A WALK IN A STORM

Soooo I realized I really like these 50 word stories. They’re short, simple, and yet really difficult to do well. So I think I’m going to continue doing them sometimes to improve more. 🙂 here’s this week’s:

A Walk in a Storm

Being pelted with rain made for a weary walk. The flashes of lightning in the distance patterned the sky like dancers moving in sharp, jagged motions. I felt water beginning to soak through my gloves, yet when I squeezed my fists there was nothing but rhythmic determination to continue farther.

——

 

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LOVE POEM #70 – IN BLACK INK

Shakespeare wrote of temperate days

where worry lived for love to fade.

For beauty can’t hope to outlast

the polished sheen of brilliant brass,

nor could the length of love outlive

the earthly pierce of a steel shiv.

 

But even the blackest inks fade,

and all the digging done by spades

could not unearth the word of time

who blanks the powers of our prime.

 

And yet, as aged as we may be,

only in love can life complete me.

——

 

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DROPPED NUTS

Ok, I’ll take a break from 50 word stories for at least a week after this one:

Wandering through the park to work, I came across a dead squirrel at the base of a tree. He had slipped from a branch while retrieving nuts, and crashed headfirst into a massive root. His head had split open, and the nuts that had distracted him were soaked in blood.

——

 

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