February Word Challenge, Day 26

(If you’re wondering what this is about, read this.)

My five random words for today’s exercise are pain, shrimps, herb, copier, van.

Chosen word for free association: pain
physical, emotional, feeling, heartache, loss, longing, missing, release, alive, need


(Trigger Warning: intentional self-harm)

She eased her fingers into the steaming curtain of water spewing from the showerhead. Not bad, she thought, but it needs to be hotter. I can barely even feel that. She nudged the outside collar of the shower fixture a little further to the left. The central water in her apartment building was entirely unpredictable, but it was worth a shot. “Please, please, please …,” she whispered. She felt the warmth increase on her fingers and hand. “Yes!”

She pushed her arm further into the water, felt it scalding her skin. She pulled it back out a little; it was already getting red. Good. That’s just right. She turned and slowly backed into the shower stream, letting the liquid fire coat first her calves and legs, then leaving stinging streaks as it rolled down and around her ankle to molest the fresh skin on top of her feet. Then the pain hit her lower back and flared down her crack to her rectum, blossoming outward like a rose in time-lapse. Slowly, slowly, she eased further back into the water, careful not to scald the fair skin of her back too quickly. She gritted her teeth and hissed through them as she breathed in, eyes closed, head turned to the side. God, I need this.

As the pain climbed up between her shoulder blades, she rolled her head forward, letting some scalding water run around her neck and down her chest. Rivulets of lava, in her mind. She turned her torso slowly to the left, then across to the right, painting her back a uniform red with the showerhead. She looked down, and could see the clear division on her side between the raw, pink skin of her back and the near alabaster of her ribcage. I’d better stop, she thought, but continued standing under the fiery rain until she could feel the temperature of the water dropping. The water was still probably too hot for other people, but it wasn’t hot enough for her any more.

She stayed in a couple of minutes more anyway, letting the dropping temperature cool her skin a bit. Then she turned off the water and carefully toweled herself dry. When she looked in the mirror, she could still see bright red on her back, and some red streaks down her chest and onto her belly. She took a selfie. Her proof; proof that she had felt something.

Not that anyone would ever know, of course. She just had to prove it to herself.

February Word Challenge, Day 15

(If you’re wondering what this is about, read this.)

My five random words for today’s exercise are board, tornado, faint, pile, prophet.

Chosen word for free association: prophet
leader, seer, visionary, profit,

“Prophecy is a tough business, kid.” The seer lit a stogie, pulling the flame into the cigar as he drew in a breath. “First of all, there’s no money in it,” he said, shaking the match to put it out. “If you’re going to be a prophet, you’d better be financially independent. Or on food stamps.”

“But what about fortune tellers?” asked the young man. “They make money.”

The seer looked at him and rolled his eyes. “Boy, you are green. There’s a big difference between fortune telling and prophecy. Fortune tellers deal with individuals; prophets deal with civilizations. And believe me, the people only want to listen when you’re foretelling something that they think is good for them. Prophecies of doom only attract weirdos, and even though they may be the only ones prepared when the shit goes down, having them around can be kind of a liability. So I generally keep the small stuff to myself if it’s not going to kill too many people. It’s too much trouble otherwise.”


February Word Challenge, Day 10

There will be no February 10 entry for the February Word Challenge, because that’s the day Ed Bryant died.

There are no words.

Resolute 2017

Resolute 2017
(for myself and the world in general)

Less anger
More agreement

Less bitching
More bonding

Less conflict
More cooperation

Less drinking
More dancing

Less excess
More economy

Less fighting
More fixing

Less griping
More giving

Less hate
More Haight

Less introversion
More inclusion

Less judging
More jokes

Less kicking
More kissing

Less loneliness
More love

Less madness
More music

Less negativity
More nature

Less oppression
More openness

Less politics
More poetry

Less quarrelling
More quality

Less racism
More respect

Less sexism
More sex

Less television
More time

Less ugliness
More understanding

Less violence
More victories

Less weed
More words

Less xenophobia
More xiexie

Less yammering
More yoga

Less zealousy
More zebras

— Stace Johnson, 2016

Cleaning out the cobwebs

To continue the vehicle metaphor from a few days ago, it seems like my writing engine is starting to warm up a bit.  The cobwebs hang from the block, blown backward by the force of the fan, and one by one, they drop away.

I’ve actually found myself wanting to write new poems, or songs, or stories.  I’ve felt a need to do something for me lately, and writing is my natural first choice.  That sounds selfish, but I’ll let it stand.  As much as I’ve chastised myself to think otherwise, it’s okay to be selfish sometimes, and in the area of creativity, it may occasionally be essential.

I’ve been thinking a lot about our friends who live in the area of the Crystal Fire; they haven’t lost their home, but the last few days have been very stressful for them as the winds shift the fire toward and away from them.  Fortunately, it appears that firefighters have complete a fire line on the edge of the fire closest to them, and containment numbers continue to creep up.  With luck, hard work from multiple fire teams, and continued cooler weather, hopefully the fire will no longer be a threat to anyone after the weekend.  Robyn & Chuy, our thoughts are with you, the family, and the animals.  Be safe.  To those who have lost their homes, I can only imagine the devastation you feel, and as weak as the sentiment may seem, my heart goes out to you, as well.