No Turning Back

misty day on my windshield

misty day on my windshield (Photo credit: jypsygen)

The rain sprays spitballs against
the windshield, annoying in their haze
and every-three-seconds shrill erasure.
Inside the glass, another sleep-short night
rains a torrent on my focus of cars
blinking their red eyes awake.
But sharp plays my vision of light
blooming in our room, revealing
a landscape of bed linen knee-hills,
coverlet valleys tossed in tenderness,
and a population of two become one.

Turning back isn’t an option anymore.
I’ve come too far and to look behind
invites chain-reaction misery.
The screech of tires and wipers on nothing but
dry reality awakens me to consciousness
of my roadbed partners, no doubt lost
in the sublimity of their own dreamscapes.
I pull to the shoulder, still shrouded
in the mist of my dawn memory,
close my eyes for a better view and,
for a minute, complete my journey there.

©Joseph Hesch 2012

Five Sentence Fiction ~ Perseverance

Lillie McFerrin Writes

For seventeen years, Frank Pineillas worked nights and weekends on the manuscript of his novel, polishing and revising until he was sure it was ready for submitting to agents and publishers.

“This’ll be great,” Frank said to himself when he sent it out, but was crushed with each rejection note, eventually realizing the manuscript needed further revision, given suggestions by some of the editors.

“Frankie, I just got a contract on my book,” his writing group buddy Len Tanner called to crow one night, which drove Frank to spend three more years revising his novel and then sending it to fifty carefully selected publishers and agents.

After he received his thirty-seventh rejection of that manuscript, more severe in comparison to the “getting-close” ones before it, Frank finally lost hope, smashed his computer into scrap and ran to an isolated cabin in the Adirondacks.

This is why Gray Gander Press never received a reply to their email, or an answer to their repeated phone calls, accepting Frank’s novel, “Dog on a Bone,” a modern take on “Les Miserable.”

©Joseph Hesch 2012

This week’s little story is written in response to Lillie McFerrin’s Five-Sentence Fiction prompt “Perseverance.”

The Web

Spider skills

Spider skills (Photo credit: Arkadyevna)

It’s so beautiful in the early morning light,
diamond crusted and inviting, a place to rest
your lonesome, weary wings. You see those
mirror images of you in the dewdrops,
a swarm of kindred souls, wings beating for you.
You wonder, should I keep my wings whirring, too,
just far enough away to maybe taste
the nectaresque joys of belonging?

You know how it has snatched others in
its sticky tendrils. You see it festooned
with bundles of sarcaphagal husks,
the spoking networks, the concentric loom
of trap and tripwire. You get too close,
and it has you.
You’ll struggle and fuss, your signal louder
to the spiders who subsist the weak.

Aw, you’re too smart, too hip,
too popular to be caught and emptied,
wasted by a mere bit of gossamer. Right?
But that swarm of our dreams, standing out
as the brightest wings, you can taste it.
Yeah, come on, they’re all waiting, just for you.
All you have to do, my friend, is get close enough
to click ENTER.

©Joseph Hesch 2012

Five-Sentence Fiction ~ Scarlet

Through the Veil

Through the Veil (Photo credit: ecstaticist)

Lillie McFerrin Writes


Flt. Lt. Ralph Sidney finally felt calmer about climbing into his Sopwith Pup Scout and following his squadron mates over No Man’s Land to prowl the early evening skies for German observation planes.

“Are you cold, Sidney?” his flight leader asked last week, noticing the young British flyer shaking like a wet dog before his first-ever sortie.

“Um, no Sir…yes Sir…Ready to go, Sir,” he replied and crawled into the cockpit and never stopped shaking from the cold, fear and excitement the whole first week of his time in France, seeing the enemy and even firing a few rounds into a Bosche reconnaissance plane.

He was finally beginning to feel more comfortable in the air today, even after momentarily losing sight of his flight amid the towering clouds that looked for all the world like glistening orange spires of cathedrals back home in England, or maybe one of his Mum’s silly hats.

Pity, while he smiled and admired them, even saying a little prayer, he never saw the scarlet German Albatros fighter dive upon him from the setting sun to his rear.

This little story was written in response to Lillie McFerrin’s Five-Sentence Fiction prompt “Scarlet.”

Our Better Angels

What if our guardian angels, our guides
to the light, aren’t as perfect as we hope?
What if they’re merely “good”, maybe
barely adequate, as winged messengers go?
Perhaps they can get as socked in
by a Blue Norther of Spiritual Woe as we can.
Problem is, they’re the only angels
we’ve got. It’s not like they can go
to the gym, or get retrained, or even
call out for a temp. Maybe 
the angels and I can pray together
for a mighty wind to blow away
these clouds that beset us.
Miracles do happen.
I’ve been blessed by a few before.
And, besides, my friends went to school
with the maitre d’ at the Chateau Ciel’s
pearlescent entrance station.
Table for one, please. Amen…

My dear friend, the wonderful photographer and poet Diana Lee asked me if I would like to write a poem based on the photo she took that you see above. You can see how the prompt worked out, as well as all her other fabulous work, at her site, Life Through Blue Eyes.

If I Could Write Short

I wish I could write short.
I’d pen you polished little gems
you’d breeze all the way through,
even holding your breath.
And, when you finished,
you’d let out a “Wheww!”
take a deep breath
and read it again and again,
“Wheww! Gasp! Wheww!”
I’d write you a book of
poetic aerobics,
and maybe you’d feel
the burn of my words
in your chest.


Troon Lifeboat

Troon Lifeboat (Photo credit: ADL999)

They say you can drown
in an inch of water,
but I’ve seen life lights dowsed
in but a dram of self-pity
or a cup or so of sorrow, too.
The quicksand beaches
of this Crusoe’s island
of isolation can pull us
under just as easily as
that fearsome riptide
of dark thoughts
just steps from shore.
We’ve got to get off,
leave all these
soul-choking vines behind
before we become just
another set of the scattered bones
of those who chose to drown ashor–
bones even we’ve blindly kicked aside.
There’s a lifeboat
beyond the fearsome reef of doubt;
its hands eager to haul us
away to anywhere we want.
Come on, keep your head up,
if we’re going down,
let’s go under swimming.


Lying on my back in the woods

Lying on my back in the woods (Photo credit: Christopher Robbins)

When I had the blues,
the whole of life
required me to look Up,
just to be.
I’ve got friends
in Australia and
South Africa
who are just
as certain
they’re heads,
trees, and
are pointed
skyward, i.e. “Up.”
Though there are
some dopes who would
think otherwise.
I guess it’s all in
your point of view.
A supreme being,
from a supreme
sees the Earth
and the Sun,
and its giraffes,
and me
falling, spinning
out of control,
through this
limitless Universe,
and thinks any
Northern hemispheric bias
and bottom-of-the-blues-well
world view are
In that light,
I’ll just lie
here on the grass,
I think horizontally,
but it really
doesn’t matter,
just to be.

Nowhere Man


IGNORE POINT (Photo credit: Daniel*1977)

The bodies pass one another in these dark halls,
and on their sidewalks that go round and round
like Mobius loops to nowhere but back
to their sorry-ass rat-racing starting-line.
Dead-eyed, soul-buried, they wear false faces
that can’t even fake the blandest sincerity.
I walk among them, awake in my joy de vivre,
the contentment of new sunlight within me,
hoping to reflect into the open eyes of those
who would read the lines limning my eyes and smile,
not merely the lines on this page arrayed.

But they don’t see this, they don’t even try,
always averting their focus to the ground,
to a piece of paper, or to the nothing and nowhere
in which they hide themselves from themselves.
I’ve come too far to be ignored and pushed
so far to the margins I’m allegedly invisible.
I didn’t come by this smile easily…
These grinning scars, these maplines on my face,
show the path from being just another shadow.
And even if they appear a little ugly when I
remember that trip, I’d just as soon smile
into a mirror then be ignored when I’m finally Joe.