At Carrot Ranch the November 25, 2021, prompt is to in 99 words (no more, no less) write about a canceled flight. Where was the flight headed? Who does it impact and why? How does a protagonist handle the situation? Go where the prompt leads! Respond by November 30, 2021.
After a mild lingering fall, winter came on fast. Maybe that’s why the loon stayed too long and had become trapped in a shrinking pool of open water.
After skidding the canoe over the shore ice, she paddled close and threw a blanket. She bundled the anxious bird away to a larger lake that had enough open water left for the loon to run on the surface, wings flapping until it could lift off and take flight.
Blinking, she watched the loon disappear into the gray sky, before returning to her small chilly home. Snow was in the air.
This week’s Quadrille host at d’Verse, the pub for poets, is Linda Lee Lyberg. A quadrille is d’Verse’s own creation, a 44 word poem exactly, excluding the title. The word today is Fair.
At the County Fair
Plaid shirted old men
harnessed in suspenders
lean forward, lurch
with the lunge of muscled ponies pulling
stone boats in the raked dirt arena.
They mouth the simple words a pony knows.
Unweighted memories are skidded easily
to the jingling tune of a doubletree.
This one feels winter most
humble in fall winds
stands in craggy patience
boldly bare, exposed
no hubris leaves cling to rattle summer ghosts
No shelter for the one
stumbling ‘cross drab fields
‘fore winter’s snowy chill
so much still undone
Where’s the greening corn? What happened to the sun?
One might burn the other for a gift of heat
aware it will not last
Always there is cold
denying is conceit
One might end up lying at the other’s feet
The Double Ennead challenge from Saddle Up Saloon host Coleen Chesebro this month is also an ekphrastic challenge, based on Van Gogh’s painting, Autumn Landscape With Four Trees. Thank you Colleen for a fine challenge, though this poem goes over the 99 syllable limit by six. See the 99 syllable version and join the fun at the Saddle Up Saloon.
Denise of GirlieOntheEdge hosts Six Sentence Stories every week. The rules are simple; just respond to the word prompt (this week’s is “blanket”) in six sentences exactly. The story can be fiction or non-fiction, prose or poetry; just go where the prompt leads. This week a poem came, with no rhyme or rhythm. Putting the 85 words into six stanzas gains me entry into the SixSentenceStory linkup.
He wrapped around her
a tolerable weight
said it was love
and she wanted it to be
blanketing them over
time felt it turn scratchy and thin
he pulled it tighter
pressed she wanted it to be
love but shivered underneath
the fraying cover like her heart
came apart into ragged pieces.
One he tied around her oaken throat
threadbare shreds her gossamer wings
with one last square he wiped his eyes
cried This is love that was
it to be.)
The Carrot Ranch November 11, 2021, prompt: In 99 words (no more, no less), write a story using the phrase “carry on.” It can be an expression of perseverance or behaving in a particular way. It can even be luggage you take when traveling. Go where the prompt leads!
“I’m sorry Nick’s such a dumbass about your leg Ilene.”
“Don’t you apologize for him Marge. I can handle Nick.”
“I’ll say. You’ve had him believing everything from alligator, to bear attack to chainsaw juggling.”
“Ha! Always says, ‘Really?’”
“Just tell him you lost it in Iraq; that’d be believable and it’d shut him up.”
“That’d be a lie.”
“You lie every time he asks about your leg.”
“I’m not a veteran. I could never claim to be. It was hard enough living with one.”
“Yet another man!”
“Loved that one. But I couldn’t carry on. Too many battles.”
“And look at her now, cougar with a cub scout. Hell, Ilene’s prosthetic is older than her boy toy, Lloy-duh.”
“Shut up Nard.”
“Marge, you’ve never asked about how I ended up with a below the knee prosthetic.”
“Figured if you wanted to tell me about it you would.”
“It’s kind of a funny story, actually.”
“You going to tell it?”
“No, it’s too tragic.”
“Cease mourning past loss. Walking now with present friends, You can also fly.”
Ilene teared up at Lloyd’s words. “Lloyd… that’s beautiful.”
And they carried on, drinking, laughing, and telling stories, but not all.
I am continuing to use prompts to add words to my flailing NaNoWriMo project. So here are 198 more (2 x 99) in response to Charli Mills’ weekly challenge. Don’t try and make sense of what I put out here, it is somewhat out of order. I am trying to make order behind the scenes with the scenes. But these do follow a recent 144 word d’Verse response, Bombarded,
which followed the October 14 CRLC Mud response.
Here’s something I haven’t done in a very long while. I am participating in Colleen Chesebro’s weekly syllabic poetry challenge. This week she would have us either write a butterfly cinquain using color or take the synonyms only challenge for the words ‘crinkle’ and ‘peddle’.
I have attempted to double down on the challenge. The color I chose is a dreary gray, and I used the synonyms advance and proclaim for peddle and corrugated for crinkle.
Advanced by rain
Night washed wind combed comes day
Fish-monging gulls raucous proclaim
Fogged harbor corrugated gray
Spectral sails torn adrift
At long last I return to one of my favorite watering holes, the d’Verse pub for poets where Merril is hosting Prosery Monday. “Prosery is a dVerse word for prose incorporating a given line of poetry. This can be either flash fiction, nonfiction, or creative nonfiction, but it must be prose! Not prose poetry, and not a poem. And it must be no longer than 144 words, not including the title.”
Today’s line is from Adrienne Rich’s poem, “Planetarium”: I am bombarded yet I stand.
I have been trying to do a little something every day with my Marge and Ernest characters for NaNoWriMO with or without a prompt. This prompt worked for them. My entry is exactly 144 words and is a continuation to a recent Carrot Ranch Literary Community prompt.
Standing By Friends
“Knock it off Nick,” Ernest said. “If Ilene wanted you to know she’d tell you. Stop bombarding her with questions about her leg.”
Ilene yelled drunkenly. “I am bombarded! Yet I stand. On one leg.”
“I’m just curious. I don’t get what the big deal is, why you have to keep it a secret.”
“Nick! Stop. She doesn’t have to tell you.”
“I’ll tell you this Nick. Shhh, it’s a secret.”
“Ilene, you are drunk.”
“You shhh too Marge. Listen up for the secret. It’s a family secret. The whole family tree is full of missing limbs, even eyes. We’re pirates, see, yeah. Piracy is my leg-acy. But we’re sworn to see-crecy.”
“Thank god we’re here. First stop— Ilene.”
“Good night Pegleg!”
“Good nick Night.”
“Easy there Ilene.”
“I lean on you Marge.”
“You are some drunk.”
“I am bombed. Yet I stand.”
As I said in my previous post, a response to Friday Fictioneers, I am trying to thread some scenes together with my Marge Small et al characters. This week’s Six Sentence Story isn’t much of a story but continues the scene seen in Friday Fictioneers. Thank you Denise and fellow Sixers for your indulgence.
Something was different. Ilene had been laughing and talking and then a cloud had come over her, dark and silent.
Marge unsuccessfully tried to get her friend laughing and talking again but was unable to restore their earlier jocularity.
“Ilene, did I say something to offend you?”
“No, Marge, honestly you didn’t; sometimes I just get in a mood, if you know what I mean.”
Marge mused that this was something else they had in common, for she had to admit, she too could get in a mood.
This photo with the Venn diagram had me thinking about comparing and contrasting. The 100 words I present below aren’t a great standalone flash but I can’t shake these characters this month. Even as I try to thread together what I do know about Marge Small and her friends, I find I am learning even more about them. So thank you Rochelle for prompting 100 words for my daily grind.
Now and Venn
Neither Marge nor Ilene expected or even wanted to find a friend— especially one who appeared so different.
Two things they had in common were that they were cis-women who as a rule never had women friends.
“We’re similar in that,” said Ilene. “And we both have always preferred the company of men.”
Marge almost snorted her beer, for while true, Ilene’s experience of keeping company with men was of another sort than hers.
But Marge conceded the point, and added another.
“We don’t have children.”
“I suppose we don’t.” Ilene grew quiet, slowly sipped her drink.
Something was different.
The following 99 word story is another riff on the Hansel and Gretel flashes I wrote in response to the “candy kitchen” prompt from Carrot Ranch. While it is where the prompt led, it does not feature a candy kitchen. But the stepmother wanted to be heard.
We’re both still so hungry but I don’t send him hunting in the woods. Not yet.
I thought I had married a strong man, one who would provide for me, but look at him. He sits and stares, dumbly kneading the boy’s bag of white pebbles, sounding like rattling bones to my ear.
‘They had to be sent away’ I remind him. ‘There isn’t enough.’
He saw their mother in their eyes, I know. And now they’re gone he still doesn’t look at me, for he’s seen me and knows I’ll never be enough.
We’re both still so hungry.