Thursday, October 20, 2016

Space Odyssey 2

I led the crew towards the galley, the coziest place on the ship. I tried to walk with my usual rapid, confidence, but my hands were shaking. I shoved them into my pockets and tried to clear my mind.

Over the muffled whispers I declared, "Let's wait to discuss this together. Silence please." The pounding in my head was causing my vision to blur which scared me. I usually felt totally in control. I kind of enjoyed the anxiety, despite the pain and fear. Finally something had happened.

I stood by the sink and gestured to the benches surrounding the steel table. Everyone sat, except for Jimmy, who stood beside me gazing up like a puppy waiting for a ball to be thrown. I felt the rush of their expectation and respect. They needed me now. I would collect myself. In my pocket I caressed a tiny gold object.

Locked Room Space Murder

The body had fallen out of the freezer when I opened it to get a fish for dinner. I had caught it the way you do instinctively when you drop a knife. I screamed as soon as I touched it and shoved it back into a leaning block of frozen Maria. She was glacial blue with wild eyes, locked for eternity in abject fear. My scream brought the crew running; they gathered around me silently, a semi-circle of faces mirroring Maria's. When the shock had subsided I began to look around and wondered if anyone else was thinking the same thing; which of us had done this? What was this ship doing to us?

"Well." growled Sam. "That's just creepy. Let's go to the den so we can discuss this development without having to stare at the human ice cube."

It was a crass suggestion, but we all breathed a sigh of relief that the captain was taking control.

"Now who will fix the engine when it breaks," whined Tim softly to me as we speed walked out of the icy garage in one clump. I didn't want to be near the low-life, but anyone's body nearby was a comfort.

Sunday, October 9, 2016

Inspiration for Future Writing

1. The story about the zoo-keeper father who sends his son's girlfriends envelope that appear at first to be empty, but actually contain tiger whiskers and nothing else.

2. Mark's story about saving the stranded baby deer when the river overflowed and then "licking" the deer butt to simulate what mama deer would do in order to get the baby deer to poop.

3. Hostel girl

Tuesday, July 5, 2016

Random Character: Root of Bitterness

Premise - This embittered, disfigured old woman with a wheelchair comes from an alternate dimension and lives with a magical being in a condo.

She sat, as she always did. She looked down, as she always did. She lived, inconveniently, on the third floor of a dilapidated condominium built in the 70s. She spent most of her day on the balcony. This was for two reasons. First, it was to work on maintaining the tan that had turned her withered flesh into something roughly the texture of an orange. Second, it was to get away from her roommate. Malcolm was not a silent house guest. He was a constant whiner and had the voice of a dial tone. If he had eyes, he would have worn very thick glasses.

"Tildy, the fan is broken again." Malcolm's voice reached out to her like tentacles. Never alone, she thought. This is my curse.

"He has no arms. I have no legs." Matilda muttered to herself, not for the first time.
Since being hurled from her own dimension into this purgatory, she had bemoaned her companion many times. But never to him. He had deadly aim with his venomous spit and the foam he secreted when upset was ruining her shag carpeting. She sighed and wheeled herself back inside.

Friday, January 2, 2015

Poetry Attempt 2

Often I am an open wound
Hypersensitive, overstimulated
The air hurts

The bandaid that is easy
doesn't let me heal
It is a placebo
with terrible side effects

I drive in my cocoon
- Not to mix metaphors -
fingers frozen on the wheel
I'm unaware of how tense I am

Suddenly a man on a motorcycle
swerves in front of my car
bobbing and weaving
to music only he can hear

I smile and am flooded with humanity

When did I become the old woman
afraid to leave the house?
What kills me is that I can't remember
is this new me or have I always been like

Watching people with easy smiles
I study them for clues.

Monday, April 8, 2013

The girl who lets this guy go is out of her mind

Another poem I wish I wrote or someone wrote for me

Open Letter To Neil Armstrong
Mike McGee (04.06.04)

Dear Neil Armstrong,

I write this to you as she sleeps down the hall
I need answers that I think only you might have

When you were a boy
When space was simple science fiction and
flying was merely a daydream between periods of history and physics
When gifts of moon dust to the one you loved
Could only be bought and wrapped in your imagination
Before the world knew your name
What was the moon like from your back porch?
Before it was a destination

Your arm; strong, warm and wrapped under her hair
across her shoulders
Both of you gazing up from the back porch
Summers before your distant journey

I don’t want to hear about the mission
I want to know if you wrote her name in the dirt,
if you surrounded both of your initials with a heart
for alien life to study a million years from now
Does she know how much you missed her while you were gone?
Could you feel how much she missed you
while you were away, farther than any man had ever been?
What is it like to love something so distant?
What was it like to fall from the sky?
What words did you use to bring the moon back to her?
And what did you whisper in the moon’s ear about the girl back home?
Did you promise to bring her back next time?

When the Earth rose over the Sea of Tranquility, did you look for her?
What was it like to look at our planet and know that everything you could be,
All you could ever love and long for was still there, just floating before you?

Every July I think of you
I imagine the summer of 1969
And the feelings you must’ve had, doing what you did
How lonely she must’ve felt while you were gone
You never went back to the moon and I believe that’s because it doesn’t take rockets to get you where you belong
The flight home always means more
I see that in this woman down the hall
And sometimes she seems so much further than across the room
But I’m ready for whatever walk I must make to get to her

I’ve been to many places in my life
The moon looks the same no matter what sky I am under
I thank you for being so adventurous, but
That rock you landed on has got nothing
on the rock she’s landed on [point to chest]
You walked around, took samples and left
She’s built a fire, cleaned up the place and I hope she decides to stay

Mr. Armstrong, I don’t have much
Many times have I been upside-downtrodden
But with these empty hands
Comes a heart that is full more often than the moon
She’s becoming my world
sending me spinning out of orbit and
I now know that I may never find life outside of hers
So maybe I should just stay

I ask you all of this not because I doubt your feet/feat
And certainly not out of any disrespect
I just want to know what it’s like to go somewhere no man had ever been
Just to find that she wasn’t there
To realize your moonwalk could never compare to the steps that lead to her

I wanna give her everything I don’t have yet
It would be nice to wrap her neck with a priceless moonstone set in gold chain
But I can’t imagine such gift would mean anymore than her knowing
I will never long to be so far away from her
That I could collect that unearthly jewel

In conclusion, yes, I would go to the moon and back
But not without her
we’d claim the moon for each other with flags made from sheets down the hall
And I’d risk it all to kiss her under the light of Earth
The brightness of home
but I can do all of that and more
Right here, wherever she is, and when I have my arm around her,
gazing up, on the back porch
I will not promise her gifts of moon dust or flights of fancy
Instead, I will gladly give her all the Earth she wants
In return for the sound of her heartbeat and laughter
And the time it takes to fall from the sky down the hall and
right into love
I’d do it everyday
If I could land next to her

She is one small step for a man
one giant leap for my kind

Friday, August 31, 2012

To Do

Tyler [Cowen] once walked into class the day of the final exam and he said. "Here is the exam. Write your own questions. Write your own answers. Harder questions and better answers get more points." Then he walked out. This is brilliant. I would be so interested to see the results. Via Kottke and Danika

Monday, August 13, 2012


Back to school. Back to the blog. I took a break when I nearly published a bitter post-text-message-dumping post. I'm happy that I won that battle but I'm also happy to be back. So yesterday I was in Mexicali going for a 5 a.m. bike ride with Ismael, Miguel and a group of spandex-covered Mexicans. We rumbled our teeth-rattling way along the canal bank on bikes intended for smooth sidewalks. A group of teenagers were skinny dipping in it holding their beers aloft as they clung to each other. The sunrise over the ostrich farm was unexpectedly beautiful even if the air smelled like cows and trash. Anyway, everything on my body was bouncing every which way and I suddenly realized why people wear sports bras. A little late in life for this epiphany I admit. By the way, this is how you know you've made it: Someone makes a coloring book featuring you.