The I of the Storm


How often I’ve waited for
this storm or that to lift
from my life! Just when I sense
the light breaking through all my
dark clouds, I realize a new one
always takes its place, carried by
the sighing breeze of my wishful desire,
maybe to see even one of the You’s
who’ve framed my life in lightning and gale.
It always felt like more than
the vast, baseless expectation of some
mooning teen sitting by the phone,
waiting for The One to call, if just once.
In a now-dim past, an early You
did, but only as a prank. Despite my
embarrassment and tears cried
within, my callow heart remained
unbroken, a green thing still,
ready for the future bending,
twisting, plaiting, drying,
dying, in a dry-twig SNAP
at the willing hands and
unwilling hearts of You
and You and You

and I.

This is the first of a couple of pieces I’m doing for my friend Annie and her blog, Writing Outside the Lines. This week, our friend Heidi Barnes submitted the prompt of using these words in the piece:  phone,  past,  storm,  twig,  light,  green. Nailed it here. Next comes a short story. Oh, and that photo up there is by yours truly. 

Ain’t a Hoss Can’t Be Rode

"A bad hoss" by Charles Marion Russe...

“A bad hoss” by Charles Marion Russell. Lithograph. (Photo credit: Wikipedia)

The rejection doesn’t slip through the mail slot
with a clanking brass slap on your cheek anymore.
It doesn’t get attached with white athletic tape
to the locker room door. You hope it isn’t delivered
with feminine giggles and the chih-chih-ing away
of saddle shoes on tile, once more leaving you standing
empty-hearted. The sting still explodes through you,
but digitized and sterile, without a human claim
of ownership found in a flourish of pen and ink.

The “rub some dirt on it” ol’ boy within you
cups his hands like a stirrup and nods for you
to step back up on that hoss what throw’d ya.
The chubby kid whose name didn’t show up
on that Varsity list suggests you join him
in pouting and spouting crack-voiced woes and “whys.”
The collector of broken dreams wants to build a wall
with them, hiding safe from more disappointment
tossed across the ether by electronic trebuchet.

But you’re now the gray-haired guy with pencil
behind his ear and notebook in his lap
who just catalogs those feelings, the images
and imaginings of the unseen senders, and
the fantasy failure that you’re not. You’ll use them
in some future foray, when you’ll pull the trigger
on one more chance to last eight seconds,
to make the cut, to kiss that girl and she kisses back.
Because you’re funny that way, writer dude.

This week, my friend Kellie Elmore had another interesting Free Write Friday prompt. She called it Writing Wrongs, where we’re supposed to vent about when we’ve felt wronged or treated unfairly, either by way of a situation or another person. I sat down and this happened.

#FWF logo