The Death Train

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Photo by Sean Santiago

The Death Train

by Seth Greenwood

That red that soon bled

The word into my head

SO U 1342 came into view

SO U 1342 is stuck, what to do?

And the train it won’t leave

No matter how much I grieve

I still just cannot see

Why it is doing this to me

I want to see out

See light before I shout

And tell me dear God

Why can’t I be without

-written in memoriam of the Holocaust 

“Even in darkness,
it is possible
to create light”
– Elie Wiesel


Seth Greenwood is a Comic Book writer, collaborator, and aspiring screenwriter. He lives near Savannah, GA and while he would rather be running the trails of western NC, he will settle for an ice cold beer on a Tybee Island pier.

You can read more from Seth here, Like him on facebook here, & follow him on twitter @attricks_jerry.

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Hard Wisdom

Sunrise in Ithaca

Photo by Heather Serra

HARD WISDOM

by Andrei Guruianu

First day of spring
it snowed
and what little dry ground
there was
there wasn’t any longer
everything turned white
and almost beautiful
almost mad in its beauty

In the lull
between waves
a cat moved through the drifts
the geese returned
and in the back yard
deer tore through the bushes
their eating mechanical
their movements
dulled from the leash of habit
dumb eyes captive
in their skin

I’m able
to think about this
to endure this
as if it were
the heaviest of burdens
which, of course, it isn’t

so instead I think
about luck
about how lucky are the few
with a glass in one hand
and a cigarette in the other
no other plans or
grand schemes
no what ifs or if thens

and that, too,
is a life that
must be endured
a simple wisdom
monotony
dead flowers and trees
the almost dead
the almost strange to be alive
taking breath
just to push it
back out
with a sound
of the heaviest burden
which, of course,
it is.


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Andrei Guruianu was born in 1979 in Bucharest, Romania. He is the author of more than a dozen books of poetry and prose, and currently teaches in the Expository Writing Program at New York University. www.andreiguruianu.com

 

 

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Things My Father Gave Me

Photo by Sean Santiago; Santa Monica, California

Photo by Sean Santiago; Santa Monica, California

Things My Father Gave Me

By Heather Serra

Carnival lights made a halo around his head.
He stood with patient hands in pockets in front of a plush zoo
Glow from the tent cut through like refrigerator light.
He picked a pair of flamingos; one orange, one purple.
They were sewn at the hip.
I want to hold them in my hands and examine every stitch
The way I long to look in his face and study ever feature.

I stretched to see the tallest shelf.
He reached for a doll praying in her box
Her hair was dark like mine
“How about her?”
I would not answer but
He bought her anyway
And I remember now
How he taught me to pray.

It was a flee market where he bought me that Mini Mouse.
Her body, so black. Her dress, red with white polka dots.
The woman he bought her from knelt down
“Is that your new baby?”
My father watched for an answer
The way you look for fireworks
When you can only hear the sound.

I kept that doll for years after we left him
But lost it somewhere
Near the end of my childhood.
I suppose it is better there.

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Earl Grey Shortbread Cookies

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I love making little treats! These Earl Grey Shortbread Cookies are not too sweet, easy to make and a unique addition to any get-together. I’m making them to surprise my favorite tea lover…shhhh

Here’s what you need:

  •  2 cups all-purpose flour
  • 2 tablespoons loose Earl Grey tea leaves
  • 1/2 teaspoon salt
  • 3/4 confectioners’ sugar
  • 1 teaspoon pure vanilla extract
  • 1 cup (2 sticks) butter, room temperature

In a food processor, pulse together flour, tea, and salt, until the tea is spotted throughout the flour…if you don’t have a food processor, no sweat. I’ve made these before without one.

Add the confectioner’s sugar, vanilla, and butter. Pulse together until dough forms. The recipe says to place the dough in plastic wrap, roll it into a log, and stick it in the fridge for 30 minutes…

I didn’t do that. I didn’t want average, ordinary, everyday circle shaped cookies…I wanted stars :)

I chilled the dough, rolled it out, and put my favorite cookie cutter to good use:

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The recipe also says to place them on parchment or a silpat lined baking sheet but I don’t have those things so I just lightly sprayed a cookie sheet with nonstick spray. They probably turned out a little crispier than they would’ve been had I followed the directions…but I do what I want.

Bake until the edges are brown, let them cool on a cookie sheet, and VOILA!

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Oh, and here’s a random pic of the orchid my roommate bought…It really classes up the joint. Don’t ya think? :)

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Bitchin’ Goal Sheets

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I am all about upward mobility; always setting goals, always challenging myself, always on the road to self improvement.

Perhaps my biggest accomplishment was losing 80 lbs. I’ve gained 20 of those back but you know what that means?…I have another opportunity to prove to myself that I can do, have, and be anything I want; and that’s awesome.

At the end of March, my cousin and I decided to set goals for the month of April. Mine were pretty aggressive. I was planning to give up alcohol all together, drink 96 ounces of water a day and do this squat challengeeveryday… because apparently I’m a masochist.

I did squats for the first 3 days this month, drank lots of water and things were great… then the weekend came…

I was so excited for Friday! I was looking forward to staying up late, working on my blog and watching me some dateline. Woot! Woot!

On my way home I picked up a six pack of Labatts and by my third beer that night, I remembered not to drink…

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So, yeah…I forgot not to drink.

It’s now April 9th and I’ve stopped exercising all together. I’ve also had more junk food then I want to admit…I’m gonna blame the weather. It’s been cold and rainy all week.

FEED ME!!!

FEED ME!!!

I needed a way to keep my goals in check. I needed to write them down and post them up as a reminder; to not lose sight of what I want to accomplish.

…So I made some bitchin’ goal sheets. :)

I wanted to share them with you because they’re fun! Sure, you can use boring old sticky notes, but why not keep your eye on the prize in style?

Except for the Tattoo Fusion sheet, these are weekly goal sheets because:

How do you eat an elephant?

…One bite at a time.

I like breaking my goals into bite sizes…They’re more digestible that way.

These are PDFs. Print em’ off, fill ‘em out and rock ‘n roll!

Day of the Dead Goal Sheet

 

 

 

 

 

 

Gentlemen Goals sheet Gentlemen Weekly Goal Sheet

 

 

 

 

 

 

Super Hero Goal Sheet Super Hero Weekly Goal Sheet

 

 

 

 

 

 

Nautical Goal SheetNautical Weekly Goal Sheet

 

 

 

 

 

 

Witchy Goal SheetWitchy Weekly Goal Sheet

 

 

 

 

 

 

Tattoo Fusion Goal SheetTattoo Fusion Goal Sheet

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

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The Fever

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A few years ago, I helped put together  a writer’s group. If you’ve ever moderated a writer’s group or belonged to one, you know that they can sometimes turn into chat clubs.

Mine was awesome….there was about ten of us at any given meeting and we managed to stay pretty structured. I got a lot accomplished in those days. We met every three weeks for almost two years.  Our meetings ran the same way every time. We met, shared what we were working on, reconvened after a small break and wrote some more.

We took turns coming up with topics and writing prompts for the group. Some of our exercises included writing in the voice of your dog, haiku about such and such and this one time we even wrote soliloquies…..blah! That was way too cerebral for me. No spanks.

I was going through a box of my old stuff the other night and came across a fictional memoir piece I wrote for one of the prompts. It amused me because I don’t remember writing it, so it was like reading it for the first time.

I slapped a title on it for the sake of sharing. Feel free to suggest a better one!

The Fever

It’s been 429 days since we felt even a breeze. An old man greets me at the newspaper box on the corner. Press & Sun was releasing a second edition. They hadn’t done that since the towers fell 43 years ago. The story is the record heat; it has been the story here for way too long.

The old man with his shaky hand drops his quarter. Instead of picking it up, I grab another from my pocket and feed the box.

“Thank you.”

His breath was pungent, as if his insides were boiling in a slow cooker. He’s become so familiar to me now. It seems there are two types of people anymore; those confined to the dank refuge of their basements, and those brave enough to walk in the sun.

I watch the old man turn away. The heat has aged him like curdled milk. Few neighbors sit on their porches holding their leather faces in their hands. A pair of Mormons walk door to door with the book of Latter Day Saints .

Some are too weak to turn them away, and after all, we can all use a prayer right now.


So there it is… It’s short, but it’s meant to prob the audience to imagine the severity of this character’s situation. Is it a story about the end of days? It is a bad dream? How long will it be until you see your last newspaper box? What will become of this character(s)? Perhaps it’s up to you, the reader.

For those of you unfamiliar with sunny days in Binghamton, see below:

TreeI’m only exaggerating a little, but it sure is hard to work on a tan here! :)

 

Selling My Wedding Dress; A Reflection

Wedding DressI tried Craigslist and eBay with no luck. You just can’t compete with the Chinese who advertise beautiful dresses and ship throw-togethers they make with used umbrellas.

Then two weeks ago, I gave OnceWed a shot. I didn’t pay the extra fee to have it “bumped up” in their database so I really didn’t think it would go so quickly, if at all. I paid $1,150 for the dress, listed it for $300, got an offer for $250 + shipping and it was a done deal. The tags are still on it- buyer got a steal.

I don’t know which I’m more bummed about….that I’m no longer a size four? That some chick in Texas low balled me? That I sold something that once held so much significance? The dissolution of my engagement was one of the hardest things I’ve been through and i’m ready to put it all behind me.

Perhaps it’s the dark sky or Live’s “Lighting Crashes” playing in the background but I feel a little somber…

Goodbye wedding dress, I sold you today.
We don’t even have a picture together.
Remember when we were full of expectation?

We were to pose next to my mother
And look upon my groom for the last time with my maiden name;
Your latches anticipating his nervous fingers.
I were to reincarnate into a christening gown
But your our helm never swept the alter.

These hopes are far behind us and this is were we part. I cradle you one more time before I place you in a box and send you away. You deserve better than to be kept in your garment bag, in a tote, under the bed.

This reflection brings to mind Earnest Hemingway’s six word story;

For sale: Baby shoes, never worn.

In Several Colors

Lancaster Sunrise

Photo by Heather Serra

In Several Colors

by Jane Kenyon

Every morning, cup of coffee
in hand, I look out at the mountain.
Ordinarily, it’s blue, but today
it’s the color of an eggplant.

And the sky turns
from gray to pale apricot
as the sun rolls up
Main Street in Andover.

I study the cat’s face
and find a trace of white
around each eye, as if
he made himself up today
for a part in the opera.

To The Happy Few

Venice Scene

Photo by Heather Serra

To The Happy Few

by W.S. Merwin

Do you know who you are

O you forever listed
under some other heading
when you are listed at all

you whose addresses
when you have them
are never sold except
for another reason
something else that is
supposed to identify you

who carry no card
stating that you are–
what would it say you were
to someone turning it over
looking perhaps for
a date or for
anything to go by

you with no secret handshake
no proof of membership
no way to prove such a thing
even to yourselves

you without a word
of explanation
and only yourselves
as evidence