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Alabaster Egg

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Leave it be, the alabaster egg, alluring as morning, tenuous as rain.   Touch it and the mother will never return, the chick consigned to abandonment and ...

Everything Old

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Who could have imagined that the universities would be the first to go? Anyplace where you went to learn how to think. The trades turned out to be much harder ...

Turtles

“I can’t help it, Rob. And I can’t explain it either. Well, I can, but it will never be a satisfying explanation.” “That’s certainly true,” Rob said. “I will tell you this, though, because I’m your friend and someone has to tell you. You’re freaking people out with this business. There’s talk of interventions, counseling, possibly restraint.” “You’re totally overreacting. It’s not even that big of a deal. It’s only a feeling after all.” “Yes, a feeling—a feeling you’ve now shared with everyone we know, in every conceivable social situation for going on three weeks, a feeling that you—we—aren’t real. That we’re just characters in a story being written by some author somewhere, who we—well ...

Before the Fall

Three seconds of rushing wind precede the violent thunderclap of a body impacting asphalt. There is a limit to the velocity with which the human body can strike an unyielding object and still retain any semblance of intactness. Former Mayor Roger Hendricks had exceeded that limit by at least an order of magnitude during his plunge from the thirty-seventh floor rooftop terrace of the Flemington Tower on June the sixteenth of the year preceding. As of today, now nearly seven months on, why he took that plunge remains a mystery—one that, alas, it was now Benedict’s sworn duty to unravel.   Thursday – January 7, 1937 “I confess, sir, that I have no earthly idea. No idea at all,” Senior Detective Malcolm Benedict sat ...

a story in which

…because if she didn’t, there was a decent chance Bret would react precisely as her friends had, on multiple occasions, suggested that he would react, which seemed unlikely to be good. And so Melody had spent a fair bit of time avoiding Bret in recent days. She had, in fact, found his behavior of late to be borderline erratic, almost as though this whole situation wasn’t really as innocuous as he had led friends and associates to believe. And if that was the case—if Bret was harboring some misguided sense of indebtedness on her part—well, then, she was pretty sure that being around him right now was not high on her list of things to do. Still, there was the interview day after tomorrow. There was no denying Bret had made that ...

Stones

The stories that we tell one another are stones buried deep in the ground. We need only unearth them, wrench them from the moist clutching soil with pry bar and shovel, muddy our hands with the travail of protagonist and heroine.   Sometimes the stone, once lifted, reveals hidden creatures that scurry from the light, threads of a story yet untold. Other times the stone is just the stone, clean and complete. And we raise it proudly above our head like Moses on Sinai, shouting to all who will listen.   And then there are stones we do not share with others. We just place them quietly into a wall with all the others, then look out proudly across the meadow of our life as our stories roll away into ...

The Moon is Dead

Everyone says so. Just a lifeless floating orphan, adrift on gravity’s tide, clad in gray regolith dust, barren and bereft.   And yet we keep looking. Staring intently across the centuries, as though there may yet be something poised there, waiting to surprise and excite the senses, perhaps offer hope in a place where there can be none.   The light, they say, is a mirage, an illusion stolen from another, nothing but a reflection of what we imagine we see, a harsh and cold chimera ripped from us eons ago, thrust away, only never quite gone, always circling circling, gazing down in envy, or perhaps pity, at what we have ...

Hegel and Hobbes Have an Adven ...

Hegel the hedgehog rose one morning and greeted the sun. His smile was bright, and he decided, as he stepped through his front door and into the garden, that today would be a wonderful day, a fun day, and, if he was lucky, he would see Hobbes the hamster and maybe even get a chance to cheer him up. For Hobbes was not a very happy hamster. Hegel and Hobbes had known each other for a very long time, and it seemed Hegel was always trying to cheer up Hobbes. Once in a while he would succeed and bring a smile to Hobbes’ face, perhaps with a riddle or clever rhyme. But mostly Hobbes just walked about wearing a pouty face. Just as Hegel the hedgehog was thinking these things about his friend, there came a scratching sound at the garden gate. ...

Chicken Feet: poems

Seasoned writer and poet Brian Kenneth Swain knows that some seeds take longer to germinate than others. After entering a new phase of life several years ago, Swain began writing free verse that not only explored the meaning in real-life experiences, but also in the wacky and unorthodox. Swain shares truths he has stumbled upon during a unique journey from yesterday to now. In his third compilation of poetry, Swain reflects on a wide range of topics that include nature’s beauty and creatures, a confusing SAT question, the day in the life of a stone mason, the sweetness of watermelon pickles, and the morning after a party, hoping his verse ultimately sparks a younger generation to enthusiastically embrace imagery, inspiration, and ...

Barthelme, or Something

Let me begin by observing that, while I have read—and on occasion even enjoyed—some of Barthelme’s work, indeed have scrutinized it with what I can only describe as painstaking assiduousness (emphasis on the pain part), I confess here, for the record, that I understand neither the writing itself nor the ethos or personal angst or whatever it is that would drive an otherwise intelligent person to construct such obtuse stories (stories here being a term I employ in only its very loosest connotation, what with me being a rather traditional sort of guy, at least in the sense that I like my stories to have clearly perceptible beginnings, middles, and endings, which I totally get is regarded these days as rather quaint and possibly even ...