If I Fall

Photo by Joseph Hesch

If I was to fall,
to light upon the grass
in the autumn of it all,
the world wouldn’t hear me.
So many of us just fall and
people only notice us, kick us aside,
on the path to their own fall.
The others don’t drop
with the sound of crashing limbs.
They sing no death song.
Only if the fickle winds of being
drive ahead those who have fallen,
shall all hear them rustle
and collide in a sonata
of whir and crackle.

All save me.
I shall float silently as
I once did when I flew
on the coursing winds
among those not yet fallen.
I shall swirl and race past all,
a soft-inked quill lifting
nightwings in silent hunt
for your beating heart.
Each new breath, each exhalation
of line, life and love, supports
my flight in a near-death tours en l’air
and gliding glissade on my way
to grasp the tenderness of you.

Looked down from the back porch and saw this bit of white fluff, as out of place as autumn leaves in August. But there it was! From that came the first line…

Linked for dVerse Poets Pub Open Link Night.

Bridge of Busted Rhymes

Bridge to the Horizon

If I could build a bridge
to those places I needed to get,
but haven’t yet,
I’d surely, well I suppose,
build it of my burned up sunsets.
I’ve so many more of those than I do
the tomorrows and almost certain regrets.

My pile of brick and stone sundowns,
behind me stacked, dwarfs the pocketful
of remaining dawns I’ve packed. 
So I’d be forced, upon
the last best spot I know, choose
where to rest the soles
of my soul’s shoes.

Would you, could you forgive
these wet clothes at the foot
of your bed arrayed, if, when I ran out
of every yesterday, despair-hollowed
tomorrow I paddled? I’d be grateful poet
and write my remaining days of love and life
and to your kind heart show it.

THIS is why I don’t write rhyming verse!

Five Sentence Fiction ~ Blush

Lillie McFerrin


It’s not like I was totally embarrassed or something.

I mean I’ve been this drunk before, on hot dry nights and nights as cold and rainy as this one.

But tonight I may have blushed a little when I couldn’t pay the bartender for the vodka on the rocks he nudged across the crowded bar – my seventh or eighth or tenth that evening – because I had forgotten my wallet in the rush out of my girl Alice’s.

I reached for it in my back pocket and came up as empty as that bottle of Stoli I’d polished off just before I skedaddled out of her place when she got a call from her husband.

Okay, reaching under my raincoat to pay the man, I may have felt a little warm-cheeked when realized I left my wallet there on her dresser … where my pants still lay folded oh so neatly.

©Joseph Hesch 2012

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

Sole to Soul


senses (Photo credit: joaoloureiro)

The air moves past my skin just as I move
through its birdsong-bounded reality.
I sensed neither its touch nor its whisper
for so long. Deep inside, listening, hearing
the voices of so many mimicked by mine
and their message consistent…
No, you can’t… You’ll never… Why do you?…
If you’d only…

If I’d only known how to break out
of that self-imposed imprisonment,
the isolation from truth, reality,
as simply real as air, the distant whirring
chirping and cheeping wall of noise
that scratches like fine sandpaper on my senses,
the raw smell of dirt just before the rain
walks fully into the room.

And the comfort of love—of self, of others,
from you. And now, yes, I can…
I stop moving, it felt so like a plunge
to those depths again and I’m not
going there anymore. No, I can’t…
I stand still, close my eyes and deeply
steep myself in memory, savoring
this feeling of Us from sole to soul.

Linked to the August 21, 2012 Open Link Night at dVerse Poets Pub

Five Sentence Fiction ~ Night

Lillie McFerrin

Sweet Dreams

secret weapon

secret weapon (Photo credit: pinprick)

Tyler sat up, a smugly satisfied look on his face, as he smoothed out the sheet and duvet in front of him, waiting for Jeanine to finally come to bed.

He knew she wouldn’t take long, this being their big night and all, and he was certain she was as anxious as he was.

His whole time in the hospitals in Afghanistan and Germany, and now finally home, he had dreamed of nothing else but Jeanine, who told him his scars and paralysis meant nothing to her.

Tyler sent the nursing aide home with a wink because they all were pleased–doctors, therapists, shrinks and his family–he was finally ready to spend the night without a medical person in the apartment.

He took the extra Ambien he’d hidden, laid back a few minutes and smiled–the first really big smile since they told him that drunk had killed Jeanine on I-95 while she was driving to visit Tyler in Walter Reed–then pulled the plug on the ventilator and waited, knowing this really was the night they dreamed of and Jeanine wouldn’t be long.

©Joseph Hesch 2012

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


My dreams never seem
to come true. That’s mostly
because I barely remember
those alleged sleeping visions.
Reality, though, if it exists,
walks me through a dreamscape
wherein I conjure all manner of
spectral maybe.

Does it matter whether I lead
a life of imagined self
in real battles and true loves,
or a real feet-on-the-ground life
with imaginary foes and
a touchless one who holds
in her see-through hand
my ghostly heart?

I can’t choose where to rest
my future until that day
when real meets Real,
warm touches Warm, and I feel
reverie quaking the Earth.
Until then, I am content
to let dream-deprived imaginings
inform this long-aching truth.

©Joseph Hesch 2012

Five-Sentence Fiction ~ Distance

Lillie McFerrin

Dust to Dust

A Kiowa ledger drawing possibly depicting the ...

A Kiowa ledger drawing possibly depicting the Buffalo Wallow battle in 1874, a fight between Southern Plains Indians and the U.S. Army during the Red River War. (Photo credit: Wikipedia)

“How far you figure they’re away?…Do you think it’s them…the Comanches, I mean…is it true what they do to white women, Mr Hook?” Aliceanne Gibbs cried, tears running muddy streams from her blue eyes and down her dirty cheeks as she stared at the cloud of dust on the southern horizon.

“I’d say no more’n eight mile, maybe an hour to find us,” said the man called Eb Hook, who fancied himself a scout here on the high plains of Texas, though the true scouts like Billy Dixon knew him to be a boastful fool.

“I reckon if we hunker down under the brush in this buffalo wallow, they’ll ride around looking us, maybe follow our horses east,” Hook said, unsure if his ruse of running off their spent horses might work, but hopeful the colored boys from the Ninth Cavalry might scare the Comanche off before the the heathens found the girl and him.

But as the dust cloud to the south got closer, Hook remembered the last time he saw what pure butchering hell the Comanch’ did to men they captured, let alone the women, and decided he wouldn’t let them have their fun that June day in 1874.

When the squad of Ninth Cavalry troopers trailing a cloud of the Llano Estacado behind them rode in from the from the south, its leader, Sergeant Purvis Lee, looked at the scene in the wallow and said, “Why this fool Hook shoot the white lady and then hisself when no Comanch’ in hunnert mile o’ here?”

©Joseph Hesch 2012

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

Midnight at Noon

Description unavailable

Description unavailable (Photo credit: pennstatelive)

I remember colors, mostly. Each time the same.
Blacksmith’s bellows roaring in my chest,
running wide-eyed yet blind. Green…whoosh…
white…crash…red…pain… black…nothing.
An Italian flag exhibition
in the darkness I would later require,
like a need to breathe shadows.
Staring on my back into the afternoon sun,
all was black, until came the star
brightly dancing in my night,
searching for me, echoing … calls of
dark’s triumph over the light.

“Here _ am,” I screamed with tongue stilled
in the absence of I. My quarry rose,
crawled atop my vacant warrior body.
I remember his angel face inquiring, inspecting
from deeply burned holes, helmet askew.
I recall thinking, “Good, looka tha’
snot bubble blowing from his top nostril.” Top?
My world tilting and righting, tilting
and righting. Hammer pounding behind my eyes,
I saw the looks of the other hunters.
I had made my kill and, as had they, gladly
left some memory of it where I fell.

No memorial stands today to that tiny death,
no stone, no scars you can see. It was
just another bit of mind I paid for a thrill ride
I barely feel yet still pains me today
when I can’t recall names, faces and sometimes me.
My body is here, crackling as it limps the stairs
from each morning’s darkness, fingers always numb
on the bannisters, tingling but not with
the excitement of all the times I rearranged
the top floor furniture in the green, white, red flashes
and the blackness that overtakes me still
like midnight at noon.

©Joseph Hesch 2012

Five -Sentence Fiction ~ Victory

Lillie McFerrin


Deceased RFC pilot and his Sopwith Pup, May 1918

Deceased RFC pilot and his Sopwith Pup, May 1918 (Photo credit: drakegoodman)

“It’s just over the hill, Herr Leutnant, you can still see the smoke coming from the crash,” Hochstein said as he mashed down the accelerator of the squadron lorrie.

Twenty-year old Leutnant Herbert Schonn fidgeted in his seat, the excitement not quite like he felt when he stitched fifty rounds of machine gun fire from the British Sopwith Pup’s tail to cockpit and watched it fall to earth, this earth, from 4,000 metres.

Cresting the hill, Schonn saw the French farmhouse upon which his first kill fell, one coffee-coloured wingtip rising above it from where the roof once protected its inhabitants, looking for all the world like a filthy gravestone .

“I’ll get you a souvenir,” Hochstein said as he jumped from his seat and ran to the house past a smudged and stained canvas under which, Schonn was told, lay the bodies of the old farmer, his wife and some of what was left of nineteen-year old Flight Lieutenant Ralph Sidney.

Hochstein ran up and thrust the red, white and blue British cockade insignia he’d cut from the fuselage and a scarlet-spattered photograph of a middle-aged woman upon a dead-silent Schonn, asking, “So how does it feel to hold victory in your hands?”

©Joseph Hesch 2012

This week’s little story is written in response to Lillie McFerrin’s Five-Sentence Fiction prompt “Victory.” It plays off the story from two weeks ago, which had the prompt “Scarlet.”