I Promise

“What?!”

“I wish you’d not sneak up on me like that. It freaks me out and I lose the flow,” I said.

“What the heck does that even mean? Who’s THIS woman your main character’s talking about,” Jeanne said, her finger leaving a smudge on my computer screen. Her tone more accusatory than interrogative.

“She’s the angel who smashed the bottle on the bow of his Titanic of a life,” I said.

“The Titanic sunk,” she said. “So you’ve longed for some woman all this time? And you’re going to write about her for the whole world to read and talk about? I hate you.”

“She’s imaginary, like Queen Elsa and Olaf,” I said.

“Well she came from some somewhere inside you. You couldn’t have just made her up from nothing. Who is she, Eddie?” Jeanne said.

“Do you know how many books I’ve read over my whole life? Thousands. And all those characters are smushed together up here,” I said, pointing at the side of my head. “My imagination just picks pieces of those characters and builds a new one. That’s where she came from. If it’ll make you feel better, I’ll put a big notice on the flyleaf that swears that. Okay?”

“Fourteen-point type?”

“Eighteen,” I said.

“Okay,” Jeanne said.

“Now can I get back to this? My deadline…”

“Okay. But please don’t work too late. We’re going to Mom’s tomorrow and you can’t be nodding off again.”

“I’ll be up soon. I promise,” I said.

When the door clicked shut, I returned to my keyboard, closed my eyes and that snowy day thirty years ago with Diana flowed back to me. And started I typing again.

This is a slightly lengthened version of my 250-word story for Siobhan Muir’s Thursday Threads flash fiction contest. I had to use a phrase from last week’s winning story (my own): “What the heck does that even mean?” If you’re a writer, a romantic or a romantic writer, you know what this story is about. If you’re not… Well, it’s about angels and magic.

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It Must Be Magic

Isn’t it spooky
how many couples disappear
when the magic’s gone?
You would think they’d stay
there on the table, or bed,
when the smoke goes poof.
But that’s what happens on stage
before the curtain falls.
Either the guy in the cape
is left standing there
less the girl he came on with,
or that girl notices
the run in her fishnets like
the one he just took.
But magic’s a funny thing.
It can reveal, too,
as well as it can conceal.
Like when the ta-daaa
comes along and the partner
thought gone reappears
in the back of the playhouse
to thunderous applause.
Sure, it’s an old illusion,
a trick we’ve all seen.
But while we stand and applaud
at the duo’s gift
and the wonder they provide,
no one goes home so
immersed in magic than they.
Because they know how
hard it is to keep and act
all together since
anyone can disappear
when the lights go down.

I thought I could write a story today, but I still seemed paralyzed by my being too long in the wasteland of depressed creativity. So I went back to my roots. Literally. The first full-length poem I ever wrote — it must be nine years ago — was a linking of the 5-7-5 syllable scheme of haiku. Go ahead and count ’em. I’ll wait. I’ll always be here, not gonna disappear, come stories or not.

The Voicemail

I guess I’m not the only one who’ll keep
voice mails from the departed on my phone.
To hear one say my name might make me weep,
though to not hear makes me feel too alone.

Some may find this morbid, maybe even sick,
hearing a loved one’s voice as from above.
But for me it’s a special kind of trick
where I listen and think I hear their love.

Sure I’m kidding myself when I press PLAY,
like I’m kidding you, if this far you’ve read.
This voice you’d know if you heard it today.
See, I only said departed, not dead.

I’ll play this call when my heart gets too blue;
then I’ll hear the one I loved and lost…you.

Isn’t It Nice to Think So?

Maybe you were the water
that quenched my thirsty soul,
allowing it to bud and bloom
and bring forth something
I never knew lay fallow within me.
Or maybe you were the fertile soil
in which dormant soul seeds
were able to catch hold
and break through to the surface,
strong, able to withstand
the winds of all our storms.
It’s possible your voice
was the music that carried through
all the darkness and gales,
providing accompaniment
to the libretti I tended for all,
but really you.
Of course, maybe you weren’t
the be-all and end-all
of my tending to this concrete soul.
But look what just thinking
about that has helped me do.
So isn’t it nice to think so?

Recipe for Desire

From what I recall,
at first touch, your cheek
was so soft and warm,
and I laughed to myself
when my silly brain compared it
to a pillow of bread dough,
proofing by the stove.
But that’s me, always making
the odd connections,
usually wrong, sometimes poetic,
a few even right…for a while.
And I wondered what
it would be like to hold on
to your soft and warm self
and, more importantly,
what it would like to feel
your touch on my skin,
because you wanted to touch me.
That would be a communication
needing no words but understood
even by a deaf man, a blind man,
a man who compares a woman
to the staff of life aborning.
And that’s what you became,
a staple of my lonely existence
and the leavening of so many
of my dreams. Oh, for a taste!

Somewhere Between Pillar and Post

It’s a cold world, I learned without a teacher,
the lesson taught absent studying books.
When it’s hot, I found it’s not a feature
of sweet life either, just stinging right hooks.

You may have found your Life’s temperate mean,
the average sweet spot twixt cold and hot.
I thought Life’s race took a binary lean,
chill pillar OR scorching post, like as not.

Maybe you’re lucky and found one to care
from the broad spectrum of persons you’ve met.
Life gives no hoots since I chose not to dare
to ask one of them for a hug, and yet…

What? Slow down and sit with you for some rest?
Yes, it’s warm here with your head on my chest.

Love Is Blind

There’ve been a few I always could make smile,
don’t ask me just how, though God knows I tried.
But, just as often, it was I, shy of guile,
who was left without love. In fact I cried.

I know, who cares about the jester, the fool,
when all I hoped to win was their nearness.
Oh, who am I kidding? I’m such a tool.
This fool wished to be their prince, so fearless.

They’d draw me close, but I wanted nigh to,
a proposition always doomed to fail.
In the end, they’d find others to sigh to,
but those ends weren’t The End of my love tale.

Chasing after Princesses, their faults unseen,
love found me, in the blue eyes of my blind Queen.