вторник, 29 июля 2014 г.

June super contest

My winning piece for the June Super Contest on scribophile.com. First time first place, big thanks to all the judges and congrats to the other winners.

I'm walking down the street wearing nothing but a smile. I'm not an exhibitionist, or a nut house fugitive, and, God no, I'm not a werewolf. I'm as ordinary as it gets. My wanna-be-original parents called me Mason. I looked it up. It tops almost all most popular name lists. Unlike my name, I'm not popular. Well, I wasn't, until now.

I'd better start with a party before spring break. I'm late and I'm skidding around the corner when I get a text. It says to get booze. I'm in high school and, funnily enough, it's both the reason why I can't buy liquor and why I can. I'm underage, but high schoolers are the most inventive people in the world. I find a girl who feels sorry for me, because I have puppy eyes (or so I'm told). I pay her from my savings and run to Dylan's house with a backpack of jingling bottles.

Dylan, the guy who sent the text, is on the porch, snogging my ex-girlfriend, Allison. I met her thanks to him, and lost her to him. But he's a better match. He's hot, rich and rules High School. All I have is puppy eyes.
"Macy, buddy!" He makes a grand gesture of welcome and pats me on the back. The bottles jingle, and he swings the backpack off me. "I'll pay you back later, deal?"

"Yeah, fine."

He never pays back, but he buys me stuff like clothes, gadgets, hair product, so I don't mind. 

"Hi... Allison," I say to my ex, actually, to her back, because they walk inside and he's whispering in her ear, making her laugh.

I follow them into the acrid fog of dancing bodies and elbow my way to the couch. Lola flops beside me out of nowhere and with a grin shoves a beer can into my hand. I thank her with a nod and take a sip. A swig of cold bliss feels like a reward for the hard day. 

I like Lola because she's different. She acts like she's a college girl who came to school for a visit. And she's not enchanted by Dylan. In fact, she's a jerk-free version of Dylan.

"Running errands for him again?"


She snaps her fingers in front of my face. "What did he ask you to do today?"

"Nothing special, just get some stuff."


"Not exactly." I shrug and smile. She shakes her head at me.

"He's using you dirty, don't you see that?"

"I owe him."

"Owe him what? Life as an errand boy?"

If you think she's right, you've never been bullied in High School. I know Dylan's a jerk, but for the three months under his protection I never once had to put ice pack to my face or worry about a broken rib.
"Lola, we've been there. For the hundred's time, Dylan's my friend."

"I should think so," he says and towers over us. Lola scoffs, as he leans to her, close enough to make my hands itch with jealousy.

"Scoot," he says. In response, she presses her middle finger to his nose, pushing his face away. He snatches her hand, and she groans through her teeth. I'm not sure what to do, so I just say his name. He turns to me, still squeezing Lola's fingers. "You wanna say something?" His look is magnetic, powerful, like he owns me.

"Let her go," I mutter.

"Sure." He slackens his hold and Lola bolts up to leave, but Dylan stops her. As he pulls an envelope out of his pocket, I feel sick to my stomach. I stole this envelope from the principal's office this morning. Dylan told me he needed it to help someone.

"My friend Mason, here, delivered this to me," he says, slowly ripping the envelope to pieces. "But I'm not Lea Olivia Leighton. You are." He smirks, letting the pieces fly. "Oh, was it your college application? Jeez, the deadline's today? I'm sorry."

Lola shakes, and I can't even move. I had no idea what her real name was and no time to get to know her better. I want to strangle Dylan with my bare hands, so I stand, but he freezes me with his look.
"She's no good for you," he says. "I'm trying to protect you."

He pats me on the cheek and leaves. Lola's crying, and her eyes tell me I lost her forever.
"Stop lying to yourself," she says and drowns in the crowd.

When I'm done feeling like crap, I come to school and meet Dylan and Allison in the hall. He's all grand gestures and smiles, but I don't smile as I give him a slap. Before he can react, I yell, "How could you do that to me? You're breaking up with me for her?" I point at Allison. The hall goes quiet, I can feel all eyes on us.
"What the hell are you—"

I don't let him finish. "Is that because she's better than me in bed?"

His eyes are so wide I'm afraid they might fall out, but I don't stop. "You know what? I don't need you. I don't need anything of yours." I start taking off my clothes and throwing them at his feet, till I'm standing in my boxers. "Take all of it. Give them to another boy-toy of yours." And then I kiss him. His lips are tight, but he's too shocked to resist. I pull away to see his face, purple with rage. He makes a move to hit me, but his fist freezes in the air, because I take my boxers off. "These boxers I borrowed from you," I say. "They are too small."

As I walk out of school, I hear, whispers, laughs and another slap.

"Him? Seriously?" It's Allison. She tells Dylan to get away from her, and I smile. 

I've just lied to the whole school. But it hurts less than lying to myself. Actually, it feels pretty good.

четверг, 24 июля 2014 г.

Zelder summer series

Zelder summer series...

One morning I went to look for myself. I didn't remember losing myself, but I knew I had to find me.

You know, one good thing when looking for yourself is you don't need a picture. You can just point at yourself and say, 'Have you seen anyone looking exactly like this?' I learned that people see you in all kinds of places. It's hard to hide even in the biggest city of the country.

In the end, I did realize I was doing a pointless thing. When you run after yourself, you inevitably run away from yourself. So I stopped and stared.

There I was, just where I had left me.

пятница, 6 июня 2014 г.



to lose
to look for
to anticipate
to be in a hurry to

to drink
to care for
to admire in silence
to hold

trying to freeze this moment
in time
is like clinging to a setting

I still have blisters on my hands

вторник, 20 мая 2014 г.

My Homeland

My Homeland

Quiet. Too quiet. Random cars.
I can hear a train thumping in the distance,
and the staring, unblinking stars
are my only witnesses.

My balcony is my cell, my prison,
and the way to freedom where I breath smoke,
every night here is a self-treason.
I'm a lonely criminal, but a lenient judge.

These several feet under open sky
have been my country for so long
that here is where I want to die
now, or after a cup of tea.

Wars happen here, blood feuds:
reason fights against heart.
Gifting evils, trading goods,
I am the only citizen.

The country is torn apart
between what I do and what I wish I'd done,
reign is a tricky art
that I am no good at.

понедельник, 5 мая 2014 г.

April PAD Challenge Day 30

April PAD Challenge, Day 30
Prompt: call it a day

End of the World

let’s call it the final day
when everything is no more
a minute of no time
when troubles have gone away
together with joy, and we
have stopped and stared in awe
today we will feel no pain
no dreams will inspire us
no treasure will cost a dime
there will be no friends or foes
no wars or pointless feuds
all struggles will cease, all tears
come, people of Earth, don’t fear
let’s call it a day, or else
let’s rather not speak at all

April PAD Challenge Day 29

April PAD Challenge, Day 29
Prompt: a realism/magical poem

Couldn’t Sleep

look, the sun is rising
darkness turning to light
morning in all its might
birds have started singing
first just the modest few
then as if on a cue
flower are waking
to wash their honey eyes
waving at butterflies
look, all of this is real
though I can’t but think
there has to be some magic

April PAD Challenge Day 28

April PAD Challenge, Day 28
Prompt: a settled poem


what can be simpler than getting married
what can be better
who wouldn't like to wear a white dress
who wouldn't say yes
how much joy having kids must bring
how great a thing
still when I think of being settled it's
so unsettling

April PAD Challenge Day 27

April PAD Challenge, Day 27
Prompt: a monster poem

Inner Demons

Dear Father,
all I know is that You are
love, truth and light.
I might think there's a part
of me that You can never
accept, ever. But when
I stand in the rain and sun
Your Son is revealed to me
See? It's not the rain, it's tears
it appears a mere thought of You
makes me cry and I try to speak,
but all that comes out
is a sigh, and I'm about
to go inside, because I'm soaked
through, yet Your love is my coat
and Your grace is what drips off it.

April PAD Challenge Day 26

April PAD Challenge, Day 26
Prompt: a water poem

Tea Ceremony

warm the cup
smell the finest
aroma, think,

April PAD Challenge Day 25

April PAD Challenge, Day 25
Prompt: last straw

every time I draw last straws
I get the short one
and clutch at it

April PAD Challenge Day 24

April PAD Challenge, Day 24
Prompt: tell it to the...

Fairy Tales

tell that sweet story of a prince
remember? when we were in Paris
putting a lock on a bridge
with our names on it?

tell it, the story is so nice
remember? I couldn't stop crying
you had to give me your tissue
your mother's present

tell it, I love it dearly
could you? there's nothing better
than when you get to the end
and hum the tune

do tell, you're such a talented
story-teller, tell it to that girl
I saw you with when you called to tell me
you had to work late

April PAD Challenge Day 23

April PAD Challenge, Day 23
Prompt: a location poem

Place in Life

sweet formula, my mother's song
wet sheets and talking animals
I'm in a good place now

a talking doll, the alphabet
a book about Madeline
I'm in a good place now

got spots, and weird body parts
one thing is clear: boys are jerks
I'm in a good place now

I am size 6, that's sooo fat!
but well, my boyfriend is a stud
I'm in a good place now

I can't believe, my own kids!
my own anti-age cream too
I'm in a good place now

warm quilt, a pair of socks, hot tea,
I'm looking at the book I wrote
now I am in a good place

April PAD Challenge Day 22

April PAD Challenge, Day 22
Prompt: an optimistic/pessimistic poem

Going for Retro

Sulking is now this season.
A moody, depressed, cynical
cad, preferably with clinical
record, is the latest trend,
pouting is a brand.

Painted all over T-shirts
is our modern attitude:
find some bad in anything good,
gladness is so yesterday,
grumbling is up-to-date.

Love? How unoriginal!
Romance? An old-fashioned whim!
Kindness? Terribly mainstream!
Sentiment? What a cliche! Nonsense.
So is innocence.

Future keeps no promises,
live and let live, hope is a lie,
remember, we're all gonna die.
If pessimism is the new hot,
I'm ultimately not.

April PAD Challenge Day 21

April PAD Challenge, Day 21
Prompt: back to basics

From Scratch

a friend of mine once said that
this world is simpler
than we'd like it to be
in order to understand it
go back to basics
to its origin--to God

April PAD Challenge Day 20

April PAD Challenge, Day 20
Prompt: a family poem

To my Pouting Sibling

There's nothing complex about family.
What can be simpler than mother's love?
Without a reason to think of,
she loves us for who we are.

Family's not complicated.
Even most tangled ties
look plain to our eyes.
Who ever questions blood?

Family is that simple:
we reap what we have sewn.
Nothing is complex about family,
let us not make it so.

April PAD Challenge Day 19

April PAD Challenge, Day 19
Prompt: make a color a title of your poem

Beauty of Simple Things

Shades of Yellow and Blue

aviculturist said glaucous
fashion designer said lovat
emo teen said caesious
military said feldgrau
nail tech said viridian
artist said myrtle
photograph said porraceous
writer said verdant
child said green and was right

April PAD Challenge Day 18

April PAD Challenge, Day 18
Prompt: a weather poem

Parting on a Rainy Day

Go out and give yourself to the wind,
let it touch you skin gently and kiss
your every inch with untamed passion.

You love the wind with all your might,
you've forgotten how angry it was, how mad
just yesterday.

Let the rain tickle your palm with its loving
drizzle, let it caress your smile when with closed eyes
you put up your face, laced with joy.

You love it. You don't remember, do you?
How that same rain sliced, lashed at us,
slashed our legs, it's a wonder we didn't bleed
just yesterday.

Go out and drink the gold of the sun
hovering over rainbows, wrapping you in its warmth,
making you feel safe and letting you love it;

and there! you do, because you've forgiven
its scorching rage, its restless torture
that made you feel stifled, remember?
just days ago

Do you blame the wind for being windy,
or the rain because it's rainy
do you hate the sun for its sunniness?

Do you hate the world for the way it is?
Would you give it up for another?

Then, why do we always give up
on each other?

пятница, 18 апреля 2014 г.

April PAD Challenge Day 17

April PAD Challenge, Day 17
Prompt: a poem about pop culture

My Scream Screen

lamentation song

make me laugh,
square flickering thing,
make me forget all the troubles
I had today,

oh, make me laugh!

make me cry
over a made up death,
let me forget for a moment
my real pain,

oh, make me wail!

make me love
or rather be loved,
find me somebody I could believe
is mine,

oh, give me love!

make me live,
tell me I'm worth a shot,
give me a number to call and
a site to check,

oh, help me live!

make it real,
square digital thing,
all this incredible world that
you call our life,

please, make it real. . .

April PAD Challenge Day 16

April PAD Challenge, Day 16
Prompt: an elegy

Lullaby to a Deceased Poem

I remember every letter,
crooked lines and clumsy verse,
every word that could get better,
but no doubt kept turning worse,

words that wouldn't go together,
thoughts I couldn't tell apart,
cups of coffee, rainy weather,
night you chose to depart.

Buried under piles of crumpled
paper, shrouded in ink,
just like that, without a grumble,
you were dead, you poor thing.

I'm not Dickens, I'm not Maugham,
there was nothing I could do.
Rest in peace, unfinished poem,
you were............................

April PAD Challenge Day 15

April PAD Challenge, Day 15
Prompt: a love/anti-love poem


How many more poems
have to be written about love,
so someone could read them,
count and say, 'Enough'?

How many more poems
have to be written about hatred,
so all of it could just
stay on the pages no one would read?

April PAD Challenge Day 14

April PAD Challenge, Day 14
Prompt: If I were...

Law of Conservation of Self

If I were
anyone else,
someone else
would inevitably
be me.

April PAD Challenge Day 13

April PAD Challenge, Day 13
Prompt: an animal sestina

Doggy Life

My limbs hurt, it's hard to stretch.
I wonder if in spite of my dark-brown skin
anyone can see a smile on my face.
No, I'm not happy, I'm catching my breath;
I've only escaped death because I can run.
It's not the first time I lick the wet ground.

But at this very moment when I've ground
my teeth to sand, I'm glad, in the short run,
that I'm alive. Under my ragged breath
I whisper to passing feet, 'In your face!'
I still have pride, a few spare knees to skin,
and staying alive isn't much of a stretch.

Some would think I'm cute, but still waters run
deep inside me, where nothing, not a breath
of wind stirs them. I know my lovely face
doesn't look mean, more than once it saved my skin,
but to say I'm harmless is quite a stretch;
I could chase a wild cat into the ground.

It's always been like this, from my first breath,
from the moment my mom's tongue touched my face,
and I nuzzled her belly, soaked to skin;
hands tore me away, and hours at a stretch
I lay hungry and blind on frozen ground.
When found by some stray female on the run,

shaking, I grabbed a nipple and stuffed my face
till my stomach hurt and the tender skin
on my gammon felt raw, but by no stretch
I was able, or was going, to give ground.
I lived, and before I could walk, I'd run
until I would collapse, gasping for breath.

I let nobody get under my skin,
it's thick enough and not easy to stretch.
Life taught me to keep my ear to the ground,
I'm so good, were I human I could run
for office, but I'd rather save my breath
and be a dog till I'm blue in the face.

When I'm finally on the home stretch, alive by the skin
of my teeth, in one breath hundreds of doors slammed in my face,
I'll take the high ground and howl that I've had a great run.

понедельник, 14 апреля 2014 г.

April PAD Challenge Day 12

April PAD Challenge, Day 12
Prompt: a beginning/ending poem

Velleity of a City Spring

Oh, nasty spring, how long
will you be so cunning,
stunning everyone
with icy winds? and snow?
Oh, grow a pair of balls
and come already,
against all odds, come strong!

April PAD Challenge Day 11

April PAD Challenge, Day 11
Prompt: make a statement a title of your poem

Don't believe in yourself. Have faith.

Hard as it seems, stop thinking you're the worst,
because you're worth this whole damn world and more!
Who knows what else life has for us in store.
Is there a point wasting time on sulk?

I could just say believing in yourself
is what it takes, but what would it all mean?
Are you a Santa Claus to doubt if you exist?
Are you a Neo lost in your own mind?

Want my advice how to deal with life?
Well, stop believing in yourself, have faith,
because I have, and I can say for sure
you'll get this job.../this girl/this cup/this dream. . .

P.S. and even if you don't, we'll still
be friends,the world will still be there,
and there will always be another chance.

April PAD Challenge Day 10

April PAD Challenge, Day 10
Prompt: a future poem

Crystal Clear

It’s true, nobody knows for sure
what lays ahead,
but I have read
my future in my mother’s wrinkles,
her restless sleep, her salty sprinkles.
I know what I’ve yet to endure.

I live, caressing in anticipation
the crystal ball of my imagination.

April PAD Challenge Day 9

April PAD Challenge, Day 9
Prompt: a shelter poem

Thousand Selves

I have to fight, inevitably fight.
I lurch, and my opponent's sword
swings in the air, slices through my skin,
I don't give up; I bleed, I sweat, I win.

It's dark, my body aches, my cloak is wet and heavy;
I spread my fingers, sparkles leave the tips,
the only light there is, I hear the dragons.
As I collapse, they come to rescue me.

I grow new wings, then fangs, then I'm a wolf;
my skin is scorched, then scratched, then torn to shreds;

I find shelter from the quiet of this world
in that imaginary place that books create.

April PAD Challenge Day 8

April PAD Challenge, Day 8
Prompt: a violent/peaceful poem


some news may be a sea to deep to delve;
death after death, depression, overdose,
and, let's be honest, deep down to ourselves
we think, 'Thank God, not me, not someone close.'

I'd watch, I'd say, "Oh, my!" and for a while
I would be shocked or sad, but then I'd go
about my business, chanting from my isle,
'Not me, not mine, not somebody I know.'

with all the losk and comfort of our lives
it's hard to see: the world's not just the West;
there's hunger, destitution, human hives. . .
'Not me, not mine, not dearest or nearest!'

who knows, maybe, it is our only way:
to watch the world like through a mired lens
and thus survive, in peace and calm, but hey,
indifference is peaceful violence.

April PAD Challenge Day 7

April PAD Challenge, Day 7
Prompt: a self-portrait

Selfie in a More Tranditional Way. Or not.

I thought a self-portrait would be easy.
I take a pencil and draw my outline,
and suddenly - eyes too big, hair too cheesy.
I erase my nose, have some wine,
start over.

I take a red felt pen to fill my lips;
it's dry and only smears awkwardly.
I try a ball-pen and find out it drips
one or two drops too late, like I bleed.
Give over?

Pissed off, I take crayons, draw a sun,
orange flowers strewn over an endless field;
I draw winds and streams that run
across mighty deserts; I build
bridges and cute bungalows on the very edge
of cliffs, I paint them bright and dreamy;
I take a step back to admire the sketch
and think to myself, "Finally, me."

April PAD Challenge Day 6

April PAD Challenge, Day 6
Prompt: a night poem


(nocturnal wake)

on the clock
on your hips
on my lips
on the wall (fingers and all)
push. stroke.
breathe. smoke.

April PAD Challenge Day 5

April PAD Challenge, Day 5
Prompt: a discovery poem


Every time I look
in your eyes,
I discover me.

April PAD Challenge Day 4

April PAD Challenge, Day 4
Prompt: Since...

Perks of Being Alive

since my u-cord
since my first word
since the first step
since day one in prep
since I got cool
since damn high school
since his light touch
since my 'too much'
since that wet kiss
since what I missed
since the big fight
since money and might
since my old grudge
since the dulled nudge
since my old age
since a blank page
since my first breath
till my last deathsins

April PAD Challenge Day 3

April PAD Challenge, Day 3
Prompt: a message poem

Words Written with Hope on Air

I'm very good at floundering around.
I'll go out of your way
next time we meet. I'll blush, then pray
you wouldn't see me whisper to the ground:
Gulp me!

I'm excellent at merging with the crowd.
I bet you think I don't exist,
I'm great at carving on my wrist
something I'd never say aloud:
Love me. . .


The Right Thing to Say

It was one of those days when you go
outside just to get some air,
when you wander the streets and know:
kicking stones will get you nowhere;

those days when your heart sinks
and gets up your throat in prickles;
days when your friends and darlings
turn into texts and missed calls;

when some kid smiles at you, and in spite
of yourself you smile back, keep walking
and wonder how on earth the right
thing has been said to you without talking.

April PAD Challenge Day 2

April PAD Challenge, Day 2
Prompt: a voyage poem


I open
my mind into the depth of whiteness,
I linger
at every point and every line,
wary to cross;
my fingers
hover over the letter 'why',
hope and
imbue all the tumbled dashes with nothing
short of luminous.

April PAD Challenge Day 1

Poetic Asides' April challenge is on in full swing. Between the musing struggles and triumphant scribblings, I've found a moment to post the long-labored poems here. 

April PAD Challenge, Day 1
Prompt: a beginning/ending poem


Beginning to feel old,

letting yourself go

while holding on to life,

feeling an urge to sew (sow?),

shunning the drafts and cold,

searching for things to die for,

desperately, in frenzy,

coining new words like 'friendsy',

talking to your TV,

scarfing the letter 'V',

stacking up things to mend,

rolling your eyes at clocks,

buying a larger box,

thinking, this is the end.

But it's not.