Leaving Town Abruptly

Writer’s Digest Creative Writing Prompt: Leaving Town Abruptly:

A friend rings your doorbell way too early in the morning to be ringing doorbells. You answer the door in your PJs, and the friend says, “Pack a bag quickly. I have to get out of here now and need you to come with me.” You are intrigued.

I grabbed her arm and pulled her inside.

“Ten minutes,” I said, both of us knowing I would take twenty. I stood in the middle of the living room for a moment, my body trying to move in three directions at once as my brain moved in twelve. Finally they both settled on one at the same time and I ran up the stairs, two at a time.

Fortunately I hadn’t put away my travel bags from my weekend trip to the islands so there was no having to dig them back out of the closet. Unfortunately, I also had not yet done laundry. I pulled my drawers open and stared at their contents, stumped.

“Okay, Micky,” I called down the stairs. “I need input. What am I packing?”

“Warm weather, um… four days?” She paused a moment, then added, “We can do laundry there.”

I grabbed a handful of underwear, three summer shirts, a pair of shorts, and one sweater – just in case. Then I shuffled out of my PJs and stuffed those in as well. Half of what I put in was dirty but the promise of laundry invigorated me to take my favorite shirt from the hamper.

I hesitated beside the bed for a moment before I grabbed my teddy bear and stuffed him in as well. Never know when you might need the moral support.

Back in the living room, I left my bag on the couch as I counted off my fingers of what needed to be done.

“Feed the cats, grab toothbrush and makeup, call my mother- once we’re gone,” I added as she made to object. I looked around again for anything I might be overlooking.

“What about food?”  I asked.

“What about clothes?”

I pointed to the bag; she pointed to me. I looked down.

“Oh, that. Yeah, I mean, I suppose I could get dressed,” I said nonchalantly.

“Well hurry,” she said, barely concealing her laughter. “It’s been ten minutes already!”

“Alright, alright! You get the cooler from the back porch and raid the fridge, I’ll be back down in a minute.”

Armed at last with pants and a proper shirt, I grabbed my purse, shoved a camera into the side-pocket of my travel bag, decided there was nothing to be done about my hair anyway and conceded I was done. We loaded my things into the trunk beside hers and then got in.

“This is what I love about you, Liz,” she said as she put the car in gear and pulled out of the driveway.

“What’s that?”

“You never ask.”

That’s What I Want

I can’t, I can’t, I can’t
Live in a world
Where there’s no mask
For my face
Of pigmented foundation
And smokey-eye shadow
Lipstick to give me
That luscious full pout
That’s what it’s all about

I can’t, I can’t, I can’t
Give up my caffeine fix
My Mountain Just Dew It
Diet Coke habit
Six pack on my hips
To wash down a bottle
Of diet pills I take
To kill the hungry pit
And make size zero fit

I can’t, I can’t, I can’t
Let my boyfriend’s eyes
Stray to other girls and guys
He might decide
The younger, thinner model
This season’s fashion accessory
Is what he wants on his arm
The centerfold promised lies
Of airbrushed, photo-shopped thighs

I can’t, I can’t, I can’t
Let even a second go by
Where I’m not center stage
My Twitter page
Filled with photos of food
I didn’t eat, but still tweet
From my smart phone ap
Current mood: a bleating sheep
Like this if you’re asleep

 

Continue reading

A simile is like a metaphor…

A simile is like a metaphor….

Wearing high heels is like drinking until you throw up.

There are many reasons you do it: peer pressure, an attempt to fit in, maybe you just think you like doing it… but it always ends the same, face down in the toilet swearing to yourself you’ll never, ever do this again.

And then a little bit of time passes… the headache goes away and the nausea subsides and you can eat normal food again.  And a bit more time passes and you sort of forget how bad it was.  And then you find yourself toying with the idea of doing it again.

Only to end up remembering – when it’s far too late – exactly why it is you promised yourself last time you were never going to do it again.

Wearing heels is like that.

There’s the pressure to be ‘fashionable’, or maybe to add height, or you just like the ‘click-clack’ sound of walking on linoleum flooring in them.

The day wears on, and you’re walking a little slower, a little more gingerly.  And soon you realize your little toe has that really painful blister forming on it, and you have to run hobble to the first aid kit to get a bandage.

By half-past lunch you’re cursing whoever made these shoes and wondering what possessed you put them on that morning, and why on earth didn’t you think to bring a simple pair of flats to change into after that big meeting?

And yet what happens?  You go home, and kick them off and oooohh it feels so good, and maybe you give yourself a foot bath and drink a glass of wine and even as you swear you’ll never wear them again, you find you’ve put those shoes back into your closet… where they’ll lie in wait, lurking for the next time you forget, and slip them on…

Tonight when I get home, these things are going in the ‘donate’ box for the local thrift store!

My Red Mother

Pain, a herald of her coming.
I prepare with clean wrappings,
Fresh linens to swathe her in.

The gift of life, so often cursed,
The banner unfurled, guarded,
Hidden in the womb of woman.

Send the men away to be men,
Let the women gather instead
For this is the time of sisterhood.

My red mother comes,
A blessing and a mourning together:
Another month without child,
Another month without child.

Continue reading

Not Like A Bicycle. Well, kind of…

Writing is not like a bicycle.  You do forget how.  You think “I totally know how to do this” and you get on and crash miserably and then kick it and go sit in the corner with a scotch.  Then you forget to pick it up for a while and it gets very rusty.  It takes time to oil the chains and make sure it isn’t going to fall apart on you the second you push it out of the garage.  Or that the seat isn’t going to fall out from underneath you.  Or the tires aren’t flat.

Okay, so writing is a little bit like a bicycle.  Maybe you don’t forget how, but you forget how to do it *well* and you get very rusty, and the rustier you get the harder it is to get going again.  Or keep going, sometimes.  Sometimes writing will rust right out from underneath you or the seat will twist or the tire will go flat and you’re all ‘WTH writing, we were doing so well, what happened?’ and all the writing can do is shrug and go sit in the corner with a scotch.

Until a prompt comes along that reminds writing why it likes you, and it’ll come over and tap your shoulder and whisper in your ear and say, “Hey… that prompt looks easy.  No steep slopes or weird turns.  And the weather is nice today.  Maybe we should take that prompt out for a ride and see where it goes.”  And you think to yourself, “It does look nice… and I haven’t written in a while.”

So you try it, and at first you aren’t too hopeful because it didn’t work out so well last time you tried.  Or the time before that. Or the three times before that.  But you’re a writer, it’s what you do, and you’re also a bit fatalistic, so you figure if it isn’t meant to be it won’t happen, but somewhere in that jaded little heart of yours you’re also just a touch optimistic which is why you keep trying anyway.

Yesterday was the result.  It was small.  It was simple.  But I liked it, and I *finished* it.  Because it was small.  But it oiled the chain and re-inflated the tires and did a little basic maintenance and off I went for an easy little ride.  That whet my taste for a bit longer ride today.  To wit:

Līgo Haibun Challenge – Picture Week

Another Life

Red clay encased hair ropes down her back, conjure images of roots deepening through the red clay to anchor the spirit to the land.  This is her land, thick with the blood of her foremothers, the dreams of her children’s future.  The ornaments at her throat were not assembled in a factory for ten cents a day.  This is a life not marred by forty hours of overtime in a race to get the next big screen TV to hang in the mortgage you can’t afford.  But don’t confuse content for simple, simple for ignorant.  A bright mind lays behind those bright eyes, filled with wisdom and hope.  Elsewhere, not erstwhile.   Mukuru bless those who dwell in the between, praised by the joyful clap of work-worn hands beneath the sun.  Ochred black, beautiful.

African mother
First child at her breast nourished
Like the summer lambs

And as an aside:

I’ve always loved African hair.  Ever since I was a child.  I think it started with my love of Ancient Egypt (because really, any culture which worships cats is right up my alley) and just went from there.  The beauty of it always made me just a little jealous.  The hairstyles, the braids, the volume… hair that could do beautiful and amazing things, while mine just hung there all limp and straight.  Of course, then I grew up and realized that I was not only unusual in this, that American society actively punishes African women for how they look, even for just wearing their hair in their traditional and natural styles, from being told it’s unprofessional, to assuming it must be a political statement, to calling it ghetto.   Which is just… really tragic and horrible.

I’ve always found African aesthetics – their hair, their skin color, their smiles – to be absolutely beautiful.  The woman in the picture above?  She could be a model in my eyes.  (Not that she’d want to be, from what I hear of the industry…)