*I wrote this story for a flash fiction contest based on the work of artist Adam Kluger*

I gave him my back as I always did when I could no longer bear to look him in his face, even after years of looking up to him in admiration. He was my father, the only man I truly respected, and the only one whose expectations I could never seem to live up to. I was nearing forty, he was well into his sixties but age was insignificant in our relationship. I closed my eyes to think back to our days as children, on the beach building sandcastles and playing in the water in a setting of bright sunshine. This was my place of happiness. He was always in the backdrop, detached from us through work, on the phone or reading his newspaper. He seldom looked up to see what we were doing but we paid full attention when he did.
This was the first time I turned without anger or without a feeling of inadequacy. I had aspired to be like him, to be a commanding figure in the eyes of my children but never lived up to the larger than life image in my mind. Now, after all these years of seeing him on rare occasion, he was present and had offered me undivided attention. He had greeted me with a firm handshake as he always did. After an hour of dinner without a hint of distress where we had laughed together more than I could ever remember, I was left disappointed and hurt. More than anything, I was terrified. My father was only human.
“Don’t worry, son.” he had said looking me straight in the eyes. “The doctors say there is still a chance I may somehow survive.”



I have created a mass
outside of myself
It breathes and it lives
It sees and it can smell

It lives where I dwell
to my six, it is twelve
to something small, it is large
for a high road, it is hell

This mass is a black hole
a whirlpool of currents
pushing and pulling
Together, it is master and I am servant

It watches me move
giving me space
to this mass I must prove
that I exist without face

I have done little wrong
but guilty I am
This mass is the judgment
of the filthy and damned

The mass will watch
the mass will record
When I am full of energy
the mass will absorb

Absolved and free
but with this black by my side
my black hole, my black mask
ready and willing to feed on my pride

“It is not real, it is not real”
I slither spineless like an eel
my dark mass must know
everything I know and how I feel

The mass will watch me fall
and it will let me lay
leaving behind a dot of blood
for the mass won’t let me stay


I watch the winds howl through the trees
I see my needs flung high
stung, sung by triumphant breeze
My wants they come by
but my sunshine
she comes and goes
through the creeks and groves
for a lifetime, as she may please

Arctic Mornings

A good morning
without warning
the sunlight splashes
upon my withdrawn awning

Dawning upon the ice
drawing the calling of a nice morning
so precise
in guiding surrender to serene arctic life

Little windows peak through the rooftop attics
dormant cabins seeping caramel brown siding
sitting sublime held by the hands of slow time
in cold so static within the depths of a wintry goldmine

Going forth with the winds
to a north heading slow towards spring
bring me a cold chill and a warm drink
so I may think away the day
in the swing of a seasonal brink


Of magnificence in speech
eloquent and unique
a voice to reach
the masses when they speak

Is it charm, or is it a cause for gentle alarm?
Does it do harm
to sway the masses within their judgemental palms?

In face of lies be bold
for the truth to be told
Around their fat fingers they hold
the key to the world unwilling to allow it to unfold

Sold upon oil, upon work and on toil
they are unanswered
an image so unwilling to be pictured with spoil

In haste make joy
but lay waste to fake ploys
The good taste of great poise
in silence to make noise

What you see

There is little you can do
when you do little
Waves cannot be made
if you are afraid to create a small ripple

The paths of snow lead nowhere in particular
the snowflakes all similar
on roads not so peculiar
in a life all too familiar

The tree bark is brown
the leaves usually green
there is not a lot to be seen
if what you see if not a part of your dreams

To forget the landscape
to escape the minutes
head down in silence
but unwilling to finish

To rise and desire
with hands and feet
or to read and write
to fail and repeat

To inch forward in small steps
crawling ahead in heavy breath
what is left at the end of the day
is unbreakable to the world’s many ways


You may not know
But you may look my way
For the reflection in the glass
May distort what you see
And forever my display

For whatever reason you wish not to look
For fear, for shame
For you might be mistook
I’ll take a chance and keep looking in your direction
And you might consider me crass
Or mistake my eyes for an inspection

…But how those eyes…stay closed and shy
How those cheeks turn with pride, away to the side
You may be correct that I needed a second glance
Did you know that strangers meet by chance?
But only if first they wish to dance

Him and Her

Do not forget her as she goes. As she was small, as she grows to no longer be level with toes
Do not let him leave, as you watch him fall, see him stumble, and just let him grieve

She must not succumb to the dumb, to forced trajectory, to a plan set out for her on the basis of history
He must withstand his test of tears, to best his near and dear, to arrest his fears

She will be herself, and he will be him, through the dim and dark, through thin and stark
to no longer play a part, to start where they wish, and to give up the lives forced upon their dish

Together they defy, in silent cry, as they try to defeat the plans they face
uncovering their style and grace
in this short race defiant of life’s unbending ways

The World at my doorstep

The world is at my door. Knocking, banging, asking to be let in. I do not wish to let her into my space, into the confines of my area so I cover up in haste. I dress in black as to not be noticed, in hopes that I blend with my shadow and disappear out through the nearest exit. The musty air of lingering despair releases through my windows, I turn on the water so my scurrying footsteps may not be heard. I must bathe, I must shave, I must clean up before the world barges in.

But a globe may not enter through these small doors. The roar of billions screaming, teaming up to rush in at any moment, to question me and ask, to poke and prod, to examine without an approving nod. The thuds grow louder, I turn small with anguish, my tongue forgetting language and my legs languish at the thought of millions of people thundering in through my bandaged door. It will break, it will give way.
”Dear World, why won’t you go away”, I say without much conviction. She will not leave and I will not stay, I would escape through these windows if only so foolish to think I would fly away.

“I am not ready for the world. I am not ready for the world”, I utter to myself in regret. I should never have ever called her, she should never have been here. I thought I would leave her as I had found her, without much damage, with the healing hands of time to manage so she may forget she was once mine. What a world she was but I did not expect to see her again. I stammer and I stutter, “Go away.”
A roaring laughter and echo of my words is all she has to say before she smirks, huffs, puffs and threatens to blow my life away.

I give in and open the creaking, cracked door. But there is not a scratch or hint of person, not the world I expected nor the sign of a mass dispersion. It’s all in my head, I tell myself. I no longer hold my breath but now I know that if the world comes to my door, I will gladly wish to let her in once more.


The sheets of ice crack like broken glass
shrouded in a frozen cast of skin
the cold wind blasts what lasts within

At last and again, on thin ice
the pressure with each weighted step
swallowing into the icy waters below
the bellowing call of men in sprawl
catching their breath before a break and fall

To awake at all on such icy patches
where cold latches on
and the menace of a chill catches on

The world watches on
while trudging through the frost
what is lost while leaving for land can never again be truly awoken
but somewhere on that ice
is a patch so clawed and worn
so shattered and broken