ARTICLE: National Poetry Month

ulalume

“What’s your favourite poem?” a journalist recently asked me. My answer might surprise you. Read it here.

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FLASH FICTION: Somewhere Else

7

We were somewhere else. The walls. We were living, in the walls.

If I moved, my mother’s voice, her whisper, grew serious. The instant I was still, she resumed her listening.

I was uncertain why she listened. For fear of what, she would even quit breathing.

I too began to listen.

One evening…

The door. It opened. We both heard it. Then the tread, the cautious tread of someone. She was stiller, my mother, and more silent, than when she slept.

Her heartbeat. I could feel my mother’s heart, in her harm. It beat faster, as the footsteps moved closer. They were soon so close…

It quivered. My mother’s heart quivered.

Someone touched the wall. I felt her hand, my mother’s hand, slide over my mouth, and hold it. Her forehead touch my own.

Her tears filled my ear. They ran, at last, down my back.

And the wall cracked open.

                                                                                                                                                          

Rolli’s latest book is The Sea-Wave

Buy him a coffee.

 

FLASH FICTION: Adventures with Writers

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Every writer I’ve ever met was scared to death.

“What are you so terrified of?” I asked Gordon (a writer).

“The world is terrifying,” he said.

“Could you be more specific?” I asked him.

His eyes got wider.

“I could if I had some paper,” he said.

We crossed the street.

“Coffee time?” I said.

Gordon grabbed my arm.

“I would kill for a coffee,” he said.

I could tell by the way his eyes quivered that he meant it.

*

Two men live below me, in the basement suite. They don’t go anywhere. Their conversations float up through the floor vents.

“Writing,” the one said, “is dying. Fast. By the end of the month, we’ll have no idea what to chisel into its headstone.”

“Bullshit,” said the other man. “It’s dying slowly. We have a few good years left. Then a few not so good years.”

I can sometimes smell marijuana coming up through the vents.

*

A man was lying in the street. I rolled down my window.

“Where are you headed?” I asked.

It was my friend Richard. Author of Payday Poems.

“Do you need a ride?”

Richard sat up. He took off his glasses. He cleaned them on his shirt. His shirt was filthy. He slipped his glasses back on. He lay back down.

“No,” he said.

I was about to drive off when my friend sat back up. He waved his hand. I rolled the window back down.

“What time is it?” he asked.

“Almost midnight,” I said.

“Thanks,” he said, lying back down.

I waited a few minutes. Then I rolled up my window and drove off.

*

Words floated up from the floor.

“I need peanuts, swim trunks, golf balls and coffee.”

“You can get all that at the bookstore. I need to go anyway.”

“What book are you getting?”

“I just need some hand lotion.”

No one said anything for over an hour.

“Why is it still 7:00?”

“I was wondering about that, too.”

I couldn’t even smell marijuana.

*

Richard’s funeral was a sad occasion. Two or three friends went. His publisher went, but left early. “I wish I could get this many people at a reading,” said the woman next to me. I laughed.

An important writer gave the eulogy. I’d never heard of him.

They passed around sandwiches, after. The woman next to me filled her purse with them. “These should last me all week,” she said. I laughed again.

*

“What are you working on these days?” I asked Gordon.

He crawled under the table.

I guess we’re all terrified. Most people bury their terror under houses and Christmas trees and wives. Not writers. They can’t afford any of those things.

“Beer o’clock?” I said, crouching down.

Gordon crawled out. He grabbed my arm.

“I would kill for a drink,” he said.

A few days later, he did.

                                                                                                                                            

Rolli’s latest book is The Sea-Wave

Buy him a coffee.

SHORT STORY: Drunk

Rolli Stuff

Nine Twenty

I can’t remember why I started drinking, even. I used to be able to remember. Then I forgot.

“You should see a therapist,” Janice told me. My sister.

“It’s not that big a problem,” I said. “Not yet.”

Janice grabbed my neck.

“Just go. It worked for Dad. And for Mom. Do you want to end up like Biscuit?”

I stared at the table.

I was pretty drunk.

We finished our drinks.

On the way out, I grabbed Janice’s neck. Or I would’ve fallen down.

I apologized.

“Thanks for breakfast,” she said.

*

Mom let me taste her margaritas. Growing up. Just one sip from each one. She could knock back quite a few.

“Doesn’t that taste awful?” she always said.

I always answered, “Yes.”

“So you’ll never drink them when you’re older?”

I always said “No.” Every time.

One night, coming back from a friend’s, I found my dad…

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FLASH FICTION: Two Hearts

Rolli Stuff

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My mother and I were in Bristol, visiting someone. A cousin, or something, and her teenage daughter. We were having tea—like this. I would’ve been nine or ten.

Children did a lot of listening in those days. I was never very good at it. I’ve always felt that only interesting people should speak, though it’s the opposite of convention. I suppose I fidgeted too much or said something smart because Mother hissed in my ear: “Why don’t you go upstairs and say hello to Katherine?”

Children still did as they were told in those days. I was never very good at that, either. But this time, I listened. I suppose I was bored. I didn’t know who Katherine was and I didn’t ask.

The first room I went into was the master bedroom. There were clothes all over the floor. When the parlour had been so clean.

The second…

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RECEIVED: Slice

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Received – Issue 21 of Slice. I have a short story in it. About THE END OF THE WORLD. Check it out, if you get a chance.

                                                                           

Rolli’s latest book is The Sea-Wave

Buy him a coffee.

THANK-YOU: Free Story

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As a thank-you present for my loyal readers, here’s a never-before-published short story. It’s about writers … and the future. Click here to read or download.

                                                                 

Rolli’s latest book is The Sea-Wave

Buy him a coffee.