In Dry Dock

The human shoulder joint

The human shoulder joint (Photo credit: Wikipedia)

Next week, I will temporarily lose the use of my left arm, for how long I do not know. And I will get the most rest—hopefully, the least guilt-ridden rest—that I or self-medication have allowed myself in a long time.

All it’ll take is a masked man cutting holes into my shoulder and shoving a periscope and teeny tools in there with which to reconnoiter and clean up any mess fifty years of silly behaviors may have set in motion, broken, or spilled. Oh, and if he finds the torn supraspinatus tendon in there he believes he might, he’ll trim up and sew its ragged edges together, too.

I enter this new situation with not much trepidation. My left shoulder has hurt and hindered my quality of life for so long, the hurt and hindrance have become almost my normal. In fact, they have been so much my normal for the past few years that some days when the shoulder doesn’t hurt much I feel like a fraud for scheduling any surgery. That’s me, Increase Mather Puritan ethic festooned with Sister Mary Irma Irish Catholic guilt and a dash of cowboy “It’s-just-a-scratch-ma’am.” Makes for a wholly American poet and author, don’t you think?

There are a handful of upsides to my mending. First, as I’ve said is the forced rest. Second, is the opportunity to finish my first collection of poems, Penumbra: The Space Between. Third, the historical fiction writer in me will now have an inkling of what it feels like to suffer one of those iconic shoulder wounds any of my future protagonists might have written for him, as well as any morphine/alcohol-induced fog of mind and body we might encounter. (You’re welcome, imaginary frontiersman/soldier/smartass dude.)

I write this to let you lovely readers and friends know where I am if any of you notice my heartfelt imaginings and glib insincerity missing from the Webs and ‘Nets you might set to capture such poetry and stories. I hope it won’t be too long. After all, “It’s just a scratch, ma’am.”

When I Shine My Darkness Upon You

Darkness falls

When I was young, darkness held
the heartbeat thump, the maybe crash,
of unknowns, inevitable, evil,
death-dealing dread only defended
by bedside night-lights and Pater Nosters.
But the shadow creatures never came
and I grew to welcome dark’s embrace.

Only during those times was I truly alone,
empty of the harsh light, the reality
of crushing days, perfectly comfortable
and conversant with myself in ways
daylight and I would never share.
Now, it is the dark upon which I dote,
the dawn and its daylong drudgery I dread.

Not even closing my eyes to the glare
of day is enough. You probably wouldn’t
understand this reassuring touch,
this love I feel in the unlit,
though you might catch a glimpse
when I shine my darkness upon you.


To Wake

Dawn Birds

To wake,
to wake to birds
calling to one another.
Calling to one another
in amity, in anger or fear,
in the joy of seeing that
bright face peek over
the far ground.
So eager to greet that sun,
greet one another, halloo
this life of time and time of life,
they rise to the trees,
even fly above them,
to see day coming
before you or I know
it’s there. Before I peek
above my blanket horizon.
And so I wake.
Wake to the birds
calling to one another…
calling me.


Orchestra Night - AAO & Forsythe

Orchestra Night – AAO & Forsythe (Photo credit: CaZaTo Ma)

Pain has long washed over me
like the waves of a symphony orchestra.
It’s manifestation from pizzicato strings,
up the ranks to shrill reeds and blaring brass.
The concert master within plucks a string,
a twinge, a spark in my body,
or draws his bow long, back and forth,
so seamlessly extending the exquisite tone
across my neck, my shoulder, all the parts
grown to accept the groaning background music
of a life full with this symphony
of self-written suffering. Today,
muffled timpani, always there, almost-hidden
by itself in the left side of the back row,
thuds its dull soreness, the ensemble resting
for a few bars. It’s a manly ache, this,
a limping, crippling thump played
with a pair of lives I’ve left ungrieved,
the heartbeat of my days, my nights,
this concerto of my times.

Under a Blood Moon


Step by silent step, beneath the brilliant red moon staring into his face, Dekanawida, Two Rivers Running, was careful to keep his shadow — hidden among the weave of trees on the forest floor — behind him. This way, he would never signal his presence to the prey.

Dekanawida remembered hearing the Shaman’s teachings of the legend, calling it a Blood Moon, a night for the hunt. He knew it as a time to prepare for the coming dark times, keeping his family sustained for when the white storms would come and game would become scarce.

In memory, Dekanawida heard the ringing words of the missionary, the Rev. Mr. Kirkland, when he told of the old holy man Joel’s foretelling, ”The sun shall be turned into darkness, and the moon into blood, before the coming of the great and awesome day of the Lord.”

Closer now, Dekanawida shallowed his breathing, coiled, his trade fusil charged, ready to slay the nearby animal for which he bore no malice. After all, he was stalking under the blood red moon, just like the one the Five Nations first came together under in the before times. The one that made the Haudenosaunee the strongest of all the people east of the Great River.

In the end he decided to use his warclub on the white hunter, who pushed his black shadow ahead of his loud steps upon the trail.  But the young warrior knew the hunter was but a drop compared to the white storm about to cast its shadow over the land by the lake called Teshiroque. Perhaps a shadow that would remove the light and life of the people he swore to protect.

Dekanawida took the hunter’s gun, powder and lead, but left the man his hair. He then melted back into the shadows to resume his mission to bring food back to his family’s longhouse. After all, this was the night of the Blood Moon, and, while blooded, it was still a hunter’s job to hunt.

Enraptured ~ A Story


lace_black_02 (Photo credit: queenBlingerie)

“While I’m in the shower,” Elise said over her shoulder to Glenn, her date this hot July night, “would you be a love and pick out a set of undies from the fridge for me…whatever strikes your fancy.”

As he pulled a sandwich bag – a sandwich bag! – full of black lace from the vegetable crisper, the open refrigerator  couldn’t cool the burning on Glenn’s face, nor the burning question others asked of whether he’d bitten off more than he chew in asking out Elise.

He couldn’t think of anything but Elise since she came to the firm’s Cincinnatti office from Columbus, a law school buddy of Glenn’s supervisor, and how he finally got up the courage to ask this edgy, cerebral beauty out.

Over the sound of the shower, feeling the chilled bra strap between his warm fingers and along a gelid lightning bolt from his right shoulder to his navel, Glenn heard Elise sweetly call, “Just leave them on the bed or dresser, Glenn…I promise not to keep you waiting long.”

Glenn was about to place the underwear on the long dark dresser when he noticed two gold bands and a diamond ring sitting in a blue dish; he blinked, stared at his reflection in the mirror, then shrugged at the familiar-looking guy goofily grinning there, and sat softly on the bed.

A flash of Five Sentence Fiction today, based on the word Enrapture from Lillie McFerrin.

Popping the Question

Candle Glow 149/365

Candle Glow 149/365 (Photo credit: gravity_grave)

“So what are we celebrating here in THE most expensive restaurant in the tri-county area,” Miranda asked Jack, who slid her Cosmo just a little closer to her hand, there on the other side of the table’s pulsing candle light.

“Why do we need a reason, isn’t just going together for, what, ten months, enough?” Jack said, and took two very large gulps of his double Maker’s Mark on the rocks and shifted his eyes everywhere but upon Miranda’s.

Jack took a finishing swig of his tumbler of bourbon, held it aloft and shook it for the waitress’ benefit, showing her his ice cubes were in need of more than this remaining dilute tawny dribble of Kentucky oak dance floor.

Miranda shivered with a chill yet felt her face burn with a fear and excitement she was about to hear she might be losing her intelligent, funny, sexy, “beautiful man” — a doctor no less — or perhaps that he was going to ask her something just the opposite.

Jack took yet another big pull on his new drink, then took Miranda’s warm hand into his moist, ice-chilled fingers, gazed decisively into her eyes and said, “Sweetie, I’ve been thinking about this for months and months and then you came into my life and I knew you were different and, well … how would feel about having a lifelong partner, someone who loved you more than anyone in the world..someone named Jacqueline?”

Celebrating the two-year anniversary of Lillie McFerrin’s Five Sentence Fiction prompts, with this week’s perfect prompt…Celebration.