An A-frame house at the end of the trail, the family decamped. It succumbs to nature’s magical reclamation of purloined parts: each gust tips off slate tiles, toothy briars penetrating dry mortar evict windows, & ice shaves the wood for the termites. (47)

The earworm’s back, insidious, relentless. Just that one word–thorn–not even the recorded song. Ok, briar patches, brambling in the woods, the proverbial mother-in-law, but that ‘thorny crown’ goes slip-sliding thru my brain forever before it goes away.

The Temperance League had a grand time fighting inebriation. They closed the tavern by chaining up bears to inhibit entrance, and to ease withdrawal symptoms ran a line of pecan pies to ache every tooth in town. The cure of choice: sweet laudanum.

She peers thru the keyhole at her friends fixing each other’s faces, giggling over yesterday’s mistake when she went outside faceless & killed a kid stone dead. Weak heart. Fun. She opens the door. ‘Who’s up for a blank-face freak fest?’ (53)

First he broke her arm and cried. She forgave. 2nd time he near split her head and cried again. She didn’t forgive, too busy enjoying the sweetness flushing thru her brain, an infection of orgiastic rage. She didn’t cry, only knelt to lap his cooling blood.

Once upon a romance she slept naked, bodies touching all night, their morning a wake-up tattoo of the drums of mutual desire.She yawns, gazes balefully at her spouse, & pulls a tattered robe over her pjs. The baby wails. “Okay, Mommy’s coming.”

The value of human life? Most places, not much, but where principle dangles by its last thread there’s still hope for humanity. It manifest in the sky last night, a shaft thru the darkness, a bridge to otherwhere. To Mom’s or Mexico maybe or Mars.

Of all the bridges I have built, crossed, or burned, let the language, caresses, & tears whose meaning once forged companionship or love remain evergreen, uneclipsed by time’s forgetting.

Lazy on the warm sand at sunset, lips meeting, tentative & wet, the accidental glancing of teeth–my 1st kisses. A local boy, his hands straying only so far & conversation so limited as to be forgotten. A risk, a remembrance, & still the cradle of desire.

She came out of the rest room, looking like her usual sprayed-in-place self. She’d been inside over 30 minutes, ice-packing her fingers to make sure she frostbit anyone stupid enough to shake hands. She wobbled over in ankle-busting shoes & said, “Hello girls.” CHEVROLET

We stop halfway on the path to the lake, wonderstruck by the spectrum of pinks above our heads on Valentine’s Day. My heart skips: a ring, our wedding. He tips my chin & lays the tenderest kiss on my lips. He says, “We’ll always be friends.” “What?”

(56) Weekends down the shore, the heavy traffic adding hours to the drive, & us taking turns reading from Dave Barry’s books & laughing ourselves sick. Later, moon & beach walks in chill wind, & the ocean a dark bloom & boom of tide in the story of our lives.

Blistering heat & sun sharp as knives beyond her shades, she lies on a beach towel while Lola digs a hole to China. A scream–excitement or terror–too hard to judge, but she jackknifes up: Lola’s gone; the hole’s gone. She digs like a dog. Touches hair.

(55) The cage is innocent, an apparatus of persuasion that tells our stories. I remember how they hoisted me nearer the summer sun which seared my flesh with long red burns & later fed me to the frost which bit off my toes. I capitulated. I’m a persuader now.

“The clambake’ll be great. Seafood, the burn of ‘shine washing it down. You gotta come.’ ‘I dunno. Last time, everything altered–the gang, the getting wasted. It’s like I turned a corner.” ‘4 right turns you’re back with us.’ ‘Exactly. I dunno.”

(54) World leaders deliberated for weeks over the terms. If a trade treaty was to be signed–& people craved alien drugs–payment was to be made in human meat, the deliberate butchery of the underclass. The shilly-shallying irked the visitors who left abruptly & nuked the planet.

Obsession promises instant hotness to Rando of choice. She spritzes for a Brando lookalike and it’s nonstop texts, drinks, kisses, lush nights & then days when she’s locked in his bedroom. She glories in his possessiveness until he says ‘Get out.’ Perfume gone.

Said he was at a spa all day when he takes me out for lobster & champagne like he’s really taken a Master Class in romance. His bedroom’s lit by 50 tea candles & he wants to strip for me. I facepalm, but … he’s manscaped! I crazy love this fool.

As a kid I cleaned Dad’s hunting rifles for cheek-pinches & pocket money & always romanced guys w/ guns. The Master at Arms who visited my 10th graders on Job Day was ultra fine, & I wasn’t real subtle when I said, “Wanna show me your gun?”Yeah, Sven often reminded me how useless I was at keeping secrets.

Tis no urban legend but plain truth. Every blue moon, the Munted Monk of Merryville, turned blue stone from cyanosis & sin, spews rainwater wisdom. To the tune of Hard Rain pour his words: Abstain ye from bestial amorosity & dirty martinis. (Photo from London)

In the dim downlight thru cloud & buffeting winds, the mighty Raven flaps his wings tirelessly, his message of the utmost urgency for hidden above roves a fleet of marauding flesh-eaters from Mars. How his heart pounds. How his brood will feast! (Image Raven in flight GIF)

His flat’s all downlights & steel but a sappy of display of pics shows girls blowing kisses. He’s been unlucky in love, he whispers. Fingers like icicles, he takes my hand. ‘Pose over here, Darling. Blow me a kiss.’ I pout & he raises the camera.

The Inquisitor applied pincers & rack to ask her to renounce evil works, and she said, “Gladly.” For she was God’s emissary and immortal. Malingering on the pyre, stripped of her habit & burnt to her soul, she designed mete torture to greet him in Hell.

She crashed thru her teens high & selfish. Thanks to Ash, she cleaned up & shucked social opprobrium but feels like the same loser. If they’re cuddled in bed & she cries for no reason, he whispers, ‘Hang on hon, that’s epiphany knocking.

Written into life by a demotic script hid in an onyx horn in the Unknown Pyramid, he craved only release. He whispered truth into archeologists’ ears; they thought he was mad. At last, a rat consumed him for the calcium, and a cat ate it, and worship, he found, suited him.

It’s no longer pc to burn recusant rebels at eventide once a year but the devoted-in-death shades of James & Anne delightinG the spectacle as they again toast Guy Fawkes in spiced rum. His ghost floats down, says, ‘That rum really lights my fire.’ (GIF)

Irritated by the illegal senophile colony on her moon, Diana demanded redress. Usually, she punished humans by death or drafting young lovers, but all the moon-mad scribbling reminded her she could use a canny rapporteur.

A cataclysmic plate shift, & a concrete & glass tower accedes to its own destruction. Merged w/ the roaring inferno is the billowing echo of its punishing debris crashing over the screaming workers hostage to inescapable terror.

A humble cottage of hewn stone topped by a chaos of thatch & almost hidden by seaside townhouses, twas the epicenter of natural wisdom, the abode of the laureate poet whose theme flowed in rivers & raged in cataracts: Go home you Philistines!

We celebrated our deaths, a wild time, before the mutual beheading. We couldn’t wait to be ghosts, to haunt the suckers who’d messed w/ us. But when we slithered out of our skins, turned out our heads didn’t make it & we couldn’t recall our enemies. Gif.

A whimper from the war-torn rubble of a laboratory, & Soldier dug thru to save a boy w/ an organically enhanced tongue. Survivor became Hero when he negotiated a peace treaty, his every word coated w/ the flavors of his infancy: pain, terror, & love.

She must go to the attic to look outside, always surprised again to see only sky & snow, or chemical flakes that resemble snow. She daren’t open the window to touch it, she can scarcely breathe as it is. She’s trapped, and still it falls & falls (68!)

The colony androids were almost human, tho infertile, & formed close-knit communities. We overlooked the fact that their medics preferred to work on our kids until their ovary-thefts had sterilized a generation. By then the hybrids were at breeding age.

Art class in reform school gets scary w/ Dan oblivious, head down to his book expanding w/ every new sketch of his chimera; snake or lion heads, claws, fangs. Always some jerk snatches the book, & a shapeshifting limb reaches from a page & drags him in.

Shapeshifter parties were a blast, made Joe Caterer smile, but provisions were complicated. Usually he got by w/ commercial mealworms, greens, & raw meat, but a sketchy stool-pigeon was on the guest list. He’d need a basket of crow. (Gif)

For the prom, I’d sewn supernovas on my gown & painted my eyes in stars. He brought me a corsage of fireflies. Questions about sex & love were tucked into my purse w/ my mad money. All that was moot when he danced me along silver beams to the sultry moon.

Maisie lit the candle beside her ladyship’s mirror then untied her pockets & stripped to her chemise. She tugged at her neck, bit her colorless lips. Ugh. She’d grown old & lost her bloom in service. She’d best bed the new lad while the moon dozed.

In her pseudonym Witch Green, she’d perfected potions to cure disease, grief, and eternal longing. Her ingredients were vegan; eyes of potatoes, 4-leaf clovers, forked roots of any kind, spinach, broken vows, & banknotes to leach the bitterness.

Back in the day, you grab a pseudonym that rings no bells, pull your jobs, maybe work under the table. No one’s the wiser. Now your name & SS# mean zip. Fingerprints at birth, DNA on file, electronic footprints, & every dam’ thing you take with you bleating its location.

Trapeze-artist twins conjoined by a bifurcated femur nursed mutual antipathies & affections. Negative: Rubberman & his crude suggestions. Positive: Strongman w/ a poet’s plaintive soul. They dis-joined to win his love, lost their balance, and plummeted to separate deaths.

In the cryptic gave or take of inspiration, my words today lack vigor, splendor, & depth. Back to my murder-ghost story & maybe go all in to describe barn swallow plumage & the quick & dirty of poor Miss Felicity’s backyard burial.

–The magnifying mirror’s hexed. My skin’s all moon craters & wrinkles in time. –Return it to the Wiccan store. –Daren’t. I’ll re-gift it to Lee for her 50th. –Sure. She can absorb the hex. Her face cracked more mirrors than west-coast quakes.