Thursday, December 16, 2010


At the request of my wife I wrote this very simple poem for a friend that was undergoing treatment for breast cancer. She had requested her friends to write or bring a poem to their next bi-weekly dinner. My hope was to contrast the fear and uncertainty of treatment (in the first line) with the optimism of recovery (in the second).



Crimson Sky

Crimson Sky

Enveloped by Darkness

Light, Eyes Flutter, Stretching



Chill, Shiver, Absent Sun

Crisp, Air warming

Tired, Drained, Sore, Energy absent

Burst of Energy, Refreshed, Normal

Today is coming to a close

Today is new, another chance

Miracle of the day passed

Miracle of the new day

Today is old

Today is new, Today is new…

Friday, December 18, 2009

Story Virus v6

The beginning prolog is directly from Michael Browns blog ( under Story Virus v5 for explanation.

"This is basically a series of flash stories. I was tagged by my good friend the writer CJT on her wordvamp blog to help continue a project with some great writers, and given the list of previous posts so I could bring it forward. I will add to the story, then tag more people for them to keep it moving. It has gotten interesting, and I hope my taggees can find some time to help it along."

Kris began to flashback of his days in ‘nam when bombs were going off, bullets whizzing by your head and how difficult it was to not get your ass shot off when you are wearing a big damn red coat and hat.

His Sarg who’s name was oddly enough Rudolph recognized that Kris was a giver and no manner of screaming and ass kicking was gonna get this jolly bearded private to wax any combatants. Rudolph asked Kris, “Can you wrap up dead bodies for evac?” Kris stammered then said, “Look I can build anything. I can wrap anything that would be considered a present or a gift. The wrapping up of bodies falls outside of that parameter.” The sarg slapped his hand to his face, running his hand across his forehead, over his scalp, coming to rest on the back of his neck as if he had suddenly been inflicted with a really bad headache.

He began to feel completely out of place when the sarg began screaming, “pull up your trousers fat man!” But the sarg’s voice was odd. Also instead of his ass feeling clammy like in ‘nam, it felt cold. “North Pole calling Santa, North Pole calling Saint Nicholas.” It was Blitzen’s voice, the voice that could get a chigger to voluntarily pop out of your skin. Groggily Kris awoke from his flashback. More than a little embarrassed Kris bent down grabbing his trouser’s saying, “These damn new fasteners don’t work, keep telling the missus that only the buttons will keep my pants at the equator.”

Donder, Dasher and Pranser swirled there hooves beside their heads, mouthing the words "Koo Koo, Koo Koo." Cupid crept up from behind and jabbed an arrow in the fat mans ass. Kris let out a whoop spinning around, but kept on spinning until he fell onto his right arm and came to rest face down. “Comet, hook him with your antlers and spin him over,” Cupid said. “I’m telling you boys, that stuff will bring down an elephant.”

“He knows that he needs sixteen hours per day minimum to make the big day,” Rudolph said. “Comes out here directing traffic then starts to zone. Turkey pecker, camel toe, power tool, dirty sanchez.”

“Put an efin muzzle on it Rude!” laughs Blitzen. “Okay who’s going to take the lead on this ‘Save the world thing?’” Blitzen lifts his hooves and wags them like quotation marks.

Wednesday, December 9, 2009

Souled - Redux

Souled (previously titled Souled to the Only Bidder) is being revised. Originally the story was written for submission to the Writer's Digest Short Short Story Contest (under 1500 words). Although I like the story (albeit around a somewhat tired premise) I thought it contained a few fresh ideas on an old theme. After careful examination I realized it just wasn't that good. The construction of the story was pretty poor and I just didn't want something to stay posted that I'm not proud of. Currently it has mushroomed to 8000 words, with work still to be done. It is barely past the second draft stage so it may take some time to repost. I wanted to thank Michael Brown for his comment and encouragement and I hope that all will enjoy when I get it back up on the blog.

Monday, November 23, 2009

Slot Canyon

A lone male coyote stands on a ridge, beneath him are the Vermillion Cliffs outside of Kanab, Utah. He lifts his nose toward the northeast, sniffing the air. There is rain, but it will not fall here. He will instinctively stay on higher ground.

The boundaries of his home are defined both by his markings and those of his rivals. It is hard to imagine just how the coyote perceives the area he has established as his own. His needs are simple. Patrol areas that yield the most food and find a safe place to rest. Below the ridge is a plateau, a crack running along the surface. The plateau slopes into a bowl. At the center of the bowl there is a hole approximately four feet wide. While marking his territory the coyote senses movement on the plateau, a ground squirrel perhaps. The coyote descends, staying clear of the bowl.

Within the Vermillion Cliffs there are slot canyons, a world within a world. On the ridges and plateaus, the panorama is seemingly infinite. Inside the slot canyon the environment is compact, close, to some claustrophobic. Light connects the two environments. Splashing the walls red, yellow and orange.

Carson has been hiking these slots for years. There are few trails he doesn’t know, he is on one of the remaining unfamiliar hikes. He enters an area that is almost entirely subterranean. Within a few yards he pulls out his head-lamp, the light has become very dim. Some light filters down through a crack running along the ceiling that varies in width from a couple inches, to larger than a foot. Occasionally the crack disappears. He begins to think of this area as “The Tube”. While he can walk through the tube, he can’t stand upright.

Carson is a meticulous man, constantly comparing the terrain to his topographic map. Interpreting a topo map requires seeing a two dimensional piece of paper as a three dimensional landscape. The map shows physical features of the land above him. He has to interpret areas like the tube he is currently hiking through. On his map he sees a circular area with decreasing elevation, not a cliff, more like a bowl. The lines at the bottom of the bowl become increasingly close together next to a small dark circle, suggesting a hole at the bottom. He believes the hole is a chimney at the end of the tube. A solid line runs across the flat area, which he is sure is the crack over his head.

The tube is mostly clear of debris. Water must have run through here pretty quickly to keep it so clean, he thinks. The sky was clear when he entered, yet the lack of clouds doesn’t eliminate the danger of water. Weather can be unpredictable in late summer and early fall. Storms can occur miles away creating flash floods. He has abandoned hikes in the past due to the threat.

The light ahead has become more intense, reaching up he switches off his headlamp. The trail ends in a small cavern open to the surface through a chimney. Carson smiles, looking at his map again, “Damn I’m good” he says. Beneath the chimney there is a depression in the floor with an inch of water pooled at the bottom. A natural bathtub of sorts dredged out by the force of the water falling through the chimney.

Carson looks up, the sky a bright pale blue. The chimney is wide enough for a man, irregular in shape. This should be an easy to climb, he thinks. He unfastens his pack, dropping it to the ground. Digging into the upper pocket he takes out his climbing shoes.

Carson looks at rock climbing as a chess player, visualizing the moves he will make. He clips on his chalk bag then chalks his hands. He places his left hand on a lip at the base of the chimney then lunges at a pocket on the opposite side. After several moves he is standing in the chimney, back against the wall looking up then down, gauging the holds and positions to come, and measuring his progress from the floor.

Halfway up the chimney he grabs for more chalk. A drop of water splashes onto his hand exposing skin. Carson looks up. A stream of water trails over the edge pouring past him into the depression below. “Oh Crap”, he whispers.

Water is flowing into the chimney, no longer a stream but a waterfall. He is forced to look down, the water trailing over his face, engulfing him making it difficult to breath. Carson is a controlled methodical man. He begins reviewing his options. Escaping down an enclosed tube is not his favorite option. Staying in the chimney involves many complications including the hazard of falling debris. Climbing out seems impossible.

Suddenly, as the deluge intensifies, his outstretched foot dislodges from the wall. He falls forward, his mouth smashing into the wall, tooth sinking into his lip. Trying to regain his footing he loses his grip with his right hand falling against the wall, his torso twisting to the right. Frantically searching for another hold, he loses his grip and begins to fall. His left foot catches on the edge of the chimney bending it back. He feels his knee buckle and his ankle pops. Pitching forward he crashes into the water face first.

He staggers onto his good leg, half swimming half crawling toward the side of the room, trying to escape the relentless pounding of the falling water. He tries putting pressure on his injured leg, it crumbles beneath his weight. Pain courses through his leg making him feel nauseous.

Carson is uncertain how much time has passed, but the water is chest high and rising. While the water is flowing out into the tube, it’s also backing up into the chamber. His only option is to swim into the tube hoping he will be washed free. Grabbing the crack running along the ceiling hanging up side down he faces into the tube. Taking several breaths he pulls forward while kicking with his legs.

Abruptly he is yanked to a stop. Somehow his injured foot has sunk into the crack, becoming wedged. Pain surges up his leg, he feels nauseous and faint. Fighting to stay conscious he swims upward. Jamming his hand into the crack, he balls his hand into a fist forming an anchor, only a few inches of space remain at the top of the tube. Carson takes several labored breaths.

Pushing backward, he grabs his ankle trying to pull his foot free, it won’t budge. Water is now just below his chin. Carson is a fighter, but also a realist. He says aloud, “Take care of Gracie, please don’t let mom and dad take this too hard.”

Releasing his hold sinking into the water he kicks at the ceiling. His climbing shoe does not release its grip. He needs to breath, frantically thrashing at the water he swims toward the chimney. His leg contracted, he feels the back of his calf bite into the crack several inches above his ankle. His hand breaches the water searching the wall of the chimney. Finding the lip he grabs hold with both hands. Pulling, back against the ceiling, he can’t get his head above water. Desperate he pulls with all his might. He feels the bone in his calf break, body pitching forward a few more inches. His head is still below the surface.

There is a point where the body will take control of its functions, no longer submitting to the will of the person. Involuntarily he breathes in, water entering his lungs. Reflexively his body coughs trying to expel the water, inhales again. He feels an intense pain in his chest as his body attempts the hopeless task of making use of the water. Pressure pushes at his eardrums, the most tremendous headache. His eyes are forced open but he can’t see. For a moment he feels his body spasm, then he is consumed by darkness.

Overhead the coyote lopes along with a ground squirrel in its mouth. He hears a sound from beneath and behind as a geyser of water shoots up from the crack. The coyote bolts. After several yards he looks back, watching as the water falls onto the rock. He is unaware and uncaring of the drama that has just unfolded beneath him.