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Lucy Tonic Nov 2011
The wingless angels of demonic races
Are watching from the wings
With blood-stained faces
Like a wide open road spread out
Between a million trees
I see them kissing with their masks on
A glass of scotch in hand
And I can't trust anything so far
From this century
So far from light in these
Disassociated states
Thought goodness was a solid
But their halos fade by day
And your scales have turned into paper mache
As we fight for the reins on this
Sleigh ride into obscurity
Poor by way of three
Johanna Star Feb 2016
As the café fills
with youthful chatter
and screechy laughter
I wonder
what it’d be like to have a friend.

At the billiards
hip teens lovingly roast each other—
their style and form
bring warmth to my lonely day.
Would I ever play billiards
or is that game
reserved for people who have friends?

I sip my strawberry tea
and imagine
having a good friend
To unwind with storytelling and gossip

We'd drink pink martinis
and be so chic in black.
And we'd be loud and open.
I'd be so happy
That I'd never have to write poetry again.

As the fantasy fades
I smile into my strawberry tea
Not too pink, but plenty of sweet.
This is alright. This cold drink is a friend.
RIP GUMA TASA
An evening all aglow with summer light
And autumn colour—fairest of the year.

The wheat-fields, crowned with shocks of tawny gold,
All interspersed with rough sowthistle roots,
And interlaced with white convolvulus,
Lay, flecked with purple shadows, in the sun.
The shouts of little children, gleaning there
The scattered ears and wild blue-bottle flowers—
Mixed with the corn-crake's crying, and the song
Of lone wood birds whose mother-cares were o'er,
And with the whispering rustle of red leaves—
Scarce stirred the stillness. And the gossamer sheen
Was spread on upland meadows, silver bright
In low red sunshine and soft kissing wind—
Showing where angels in the night had trailed
Their garments on the turf. Tall arrow-heads,
With flag and rush and fringing grasses, dropped
Their seeds and blossoms in the sleepy pool.
The water-lily lay on her green leaf,
White, fair, and stately; while an amorous branch
Of silver willow, drooping in the stream,
Sent soft, low-babbling ripples towards her:
And oh, the woods!—erst haunted with the song
Of nightingales and tender coo of doves—
They stood all flushed and kindling 'neath the touch
Of death—kind death!—fair, fond, reluctant death!—
A dappled mass of glory!
Harvest-time;
With russet wood-fruit thick upon the ground,
'Mid crumpled ferns and delicate blue harebells.
The orchard-apples rolled in seedy grass—
Apples of gold, and violet-velvet plums;
And all the tangled hedgerows bore a crop
Of scarlet hips, blue sloes, and blackberries,
And orange clusters of the mountain ash.
The crimson fungus and soft mosses clung
To old decaying trunks; the summer bine
Drooped, shivering, in the glossy ivy's grasp.
By day the blue air bore upon its wings
Wide-wandering seeds, pale drifts of thistle-down;
By night the fog crept low upon the earth,
All white and cool, and calmed its feverishness,
And veiled it over with a veil of tears.

The curlew and the plover were come back
To still, bleak shores; the little summer birds
Were gone—to Persian gardens, and the groves
Of Greece and Italy, and the palmy lands.

A Norman tower, with moss and lichen clothed,
Wherein old bells, on old worm-eaten frames
And rusty wheels, had swung for centuries,
Chiming the same soft chime—the lullaby
Of cradled rooks and blinking bats and owls;
Setting the same sweet tune, from year to year,
For generations of true hearts to sing.
A wide churchyard, with grassy slopes and nooks,
And shady corners and meandering paths;
With glimpses of dim windows and grey walls
Just caught at here and there amongst the green
Of flowering shrubs and sweet lime-avenues.
An old house standing near—a parsonage-house—
With broad thatched roof and overhanging eaves,
O'errun with banksia roses,—a low house,
With ivied windows and a latticed porch,
Shut in a tiny Paradise, all sweet
With hum of bees and scent of mignonette.

We lay our lazy length upon the grass
In that same Paradise, my friend and I.
And, as we lay, we talked of college days—
Wild, racing, hunting, steeple-chasing days;
Of river reaches, fishing-grounds, and weirs,
Bats, gloves, debates, and in-humanities:
And then of boon-companions of those days,
How lost and scattered, married, changed, and dead;
Until he flung his arm across his face,
And feigned to slumber.
He was changed, my friend;
Not like the man—the leader of his set—
The favourite of the college—that I knew.
And more than time had changed him. He had been
“A little wild,” the Lady Alice said;
“A little gay, as all young men will be
At first, before they settle down to life—
While they have money, health, and no restraint,
Nor any work to do,” Ah, yes! But this
Was mystery unexplained—that he was sad
And still and thoughtful, like an aged man;
And scarcely thirty. With a winsome flash,
The old bright heart would shine out here and there;
But aye to be o'ershadowed and hushed down,

As he had hushed it now.
His dog lay near,
With long, sharp muzzle resting on his paws,
And wistful eyes, half shut,—but watching him;
A deerhound of illustrious race, all grey
And grizzled, with soft, wrinkled, velvet ears;
A gaunt, gigantic, wolfish-looking brute,
And worth his weight in gold.
“There, there,” said he,
And raised him on his elbow, “you have looked
Enough at me; now look at some one else.”

“You could not see him, surely, with your arm
Across your face?”
“No, but I felt his eyes;
They are such sharp, wise eyes—persistent eyes—
Perpetually reproachful. Look at them;
Had ever dog such eyes?”
“Oh yes,” I thought;
But, wondering, turned my talk upon his breed.
And was he of the famed Glengarry stock?
And in what season was he entered? Where,
Pray, did he pick him up?
He moved himself
At that last question, with a little writhe
Of sudden pain or restlessness; and sighed.
And then he slowly rose, pushed back the hair
From his broad brows; and, whistling softly, said,
“Come here, old dog, and we will tell him. Come.”

“On such a day, and such a time, as this,
Old Tom and I were stalking on the hills,
Near seven years ago. Bad luck was ours;
For we had searched up corrie, glen, and burn,
From earliest daybreak—wading to the waist
Peat-rift and purple heather—all in vain!
We struck a track nigh every hour, to lose
A noble quarry by ignoble chance—
The crowing of a grouse-****, or the flight
Of startled mallards from a reedy pool,
Or subtle, hair's breadth veering of the wind.
And now 'twas waning sunset—rosy soft

On far grey peaks, and the green valley spread
Beneath us. We had climbed a ridge, and lay
Debating in low whispers of our plans
For night and morning. Golden eagles sailed
Above our heads; the wild ducks swam about

Amid the reeds and rushes of the pools;
A lonely heron stood on one long leg
In shallow water, watching for a meal;
And there, to windward, couching in the grass
That fringed the blue edge of a sleeping loch—
Waiting for dusk to feed and drink—there lay
A herd of deer.
“And as we looked and planned,
A mountain storm of sweeping mist and rain
Came down upon us. It passed by, and left
The burnies swollen that we had to cross;
And left us barely light enough to see
The broad, black, branching antlers, clustering still
Amid the long grass in the valley.

“‘Sir,’
Said Tom, ‘there is a shealing down below,
To leeward. We might bivouac there to-night,
And come again at dawn.’
“And so we crept
Adown the glen, and stumbled in the dark
Against the doorway of the keeper's home,
And over two big deerhounds—ancestors
Of this our old companion. There was light
And warmth, a welcome and a heather bed,
At Colin's cottage; with a meal of eggs
And fresh trout, broiled by dainty little hands,
And sweetest milk and oatcake. There were songs
And Gaelic legends, and long talk of deer—
Mixt with a sweet, low laughter, and the whir
Of spinning-wheel.
“The dogs lay at her feet—
The feet of Colin's daughter—with their soft
Dark velvet ears pricked up for every sound
And movement that she made. Right royal brutes,
Whereon I gazed with envy.
“ ‘What,’ I asked,
‘Would Colin take for these?’
“ ‘Eh, sir,’ said he,
And shook his head, ‘I cannot sell the dogs.
They're priceless, they, and—Jeanie's favourites.
But there's a litter in the shed—five pups,
As like as peas to this one. You may choose
Amongst them, sir—take any that you like.
Get us the lantern, Jeanie. You shall show
The gentleman.’
“Ah, she was fair, that girl!

Not like the other lassies—cottage folk;
For there was subtle trace of gentle blood
Through all her beauty and in all her ways.
(The mother's race was ‘poor and proud,’ they said).
Ay, she was fair, my darling! with her shy,
Brown, innocent face and delicate-shapen limbs.
She had the tenderest mouth you ever saw,
And grey, dark eyes, and broad, straight-pencill'd brows;
Dark hair, sun-dappled with a sheeny gold;
Dark chestnut braids that knotted up the light,
As soft as satin. You could scarcely hear
Her step, or hear the rustling of her gown,
Or the soft hovering motion of her hands
At household work. She seemed to bring a spell
Of tender calm and silence where she came.
You felt her presence—and not by its stir,
But by its restfulness. She was a sight
To be remembered—standing in the straw;
A sleepy pup soft-cradled in her arms
Like any Christian baby; standing still,
The while I handled his ungainly limbs.
And Colin blustered of the sport—of hounds,
Roe, ptarmigan, and trout, and ducal deer—
Ne'er lifting up that sweet, unconscious face,
To see why I was silent. Oh, I would
You could have seen her then. She was so fair,
And oh, so young!—scarce seventeen at most—
So ignorant and so young!
“Tell them, my friend—
Your flock—the restless-hearted—they who scorn
The ordered fashion fitted to our race,
And scoff at laws they may not understand—
Tell them that they are fools. They cannot mate
With other than their kind, but woe will come
In some shape—mostly shame, but always grief
And disappointment. Ah, my love! my love!
But she was different from the common sort;
A peasant, ignorant, simple, undefiled;
The child of rugged peasant-parents, taught
In all their thoughts and ways; yet with that touch
Of tender grace about her, softening all
The rougher evidence of her lowly state—
That undefined, unconscious dignity—
That delicate instinct for the reading right
The riddles of less simple minds than hers—
That sharper, finer, subtler sense of life—
That something which does not possess a name,

Which made her beauty beautiful to me—
The long-lost legacy of forgotten knights.

“I chose amongst the five fat creeping things
This rare old dog. And Jeanie promised kind
And gentle nurture for its infant days;
And promised she would keep it till I came
Another year. And so we went to rest.
And in the morning, ere the sun was up,
We left our rifles, and went out to run
The browsing red-deer with old Colin's hounds.
Through glen and bog, through brawling mountain streams,
Grey, lichened boulders, furze, and juniper,
And purple wilderness of moor, we toiled,
Ere yet the distant snow-peak was alight.
We chased a hart to water; saw him stand
At bay, with sweeping antlers, in the burn.
His large, wild, wistful eyes despairingly
Turned to the deeper eddies; and we saw
The choking struggle and the bitter end,
And cut his gallant throat upon the grass,
And left him. Then we followed a fresh track—
A dozen tracks—and hunted till the noon;
Shot cormorants and wild cats in the cliffs,
And snipe and blackcock on the ferny hills;
And set our floating night-lines at the loch;—
And then came back to Jeanie.
“Well, you know
What follows such commencement:—how I found
The woods and corries round about her home
Fruitful of roe and red-deer; how I found
The grouse lay thickest on adjacent moors;
Discovered ptarmigan on rocky peaks,
And rare small game on birch-besprinkled hills,
O'ershadowing that rude shealing; how the pools
Were full of wild-fowl, and the loch of trout;
How vermin harboured in the underwood,
And rocks, and reedy marshes; how I found
The sport aye best in this charmed neighbourhood.
And then I e'en must wander to the door,
To leave a bird for Colin, or to ask
A lodging for some stormy night, or see
How fared my infant deerhound.
“And I saw
The creeping dawn unfolding; saw the doubt,
And faith, and longing swaying her sweet heart;
And every flow just distancing the ebb.

I saw her try to bar the golden gates
Whence love demanded egress,—calm her eyes,
And still the tender, sensitive, tell-tale lips,
And steal away to corners; saw her face
Grow graver and more wistful, day by day;
And felt the gradual strengthening of my hold.
I did not stay to think of it—to ask
What I was doing!
“In the early time,
She used to slip away to household work
When I was there, and would not talk to me;
But when I came not, she would climb the glen
In secret, and look out, with shaded brow,
Across the valley. Ay, I caught her once—
Like some young helpless doe, amongst the fern—
I caught her, and I kissed her mouth and eyes;
And with those kisses signed and sealed our fate
For evermore. Then came our happy days—
The bright, brief, shining days without a cloud!
In ferny hollows and deep, rustling woods,
That shut us in and shut out all the world—
The far, forgotten world—we met, and kissed,
And parted, silent, in the balmy dusk.
We haunted still roe-coverts, hand in hand,
And murmured, under our breath, of love and faith,
And swore great oaths for one of us to keep.
We sat for hours, with sealèd lips, and heard
The crossbill chattering in the larches—heard
The sweet wind whispering as it passed us by—
And heard our own hearts' music in the hush.
Ah, blessed days! ah, happy, innocent days!—
I would I had them back.
“Then came the Duke,
And Lady Alice, with her worldly grace
And artificial beauty—with the gleam
Of jewels, and the dainty shine of silk,
And perfumed softness of white lace and lawn;
With all the glamour of her courtly ways,
Her talk of art and fashion, and the world
We both belonged to. Ah, she hardened me!
I lost the sweetness of the heathery moors
And hills and quiet woodlands, in that scent
Of London clubs and royal drawing-rooms;
I lost the tender chivalry of my love,
The keen sense of its sacredness, the clear
Perception of mine honour, by degrees,
Brought face to face with customs of my kind.

I was no more a “man;” nor she, my love,
A delicate lily of womanhood—ah, no!
I was the heir of an illustrious house,
And she a simple, homespun cottage-girl.

“And now I stole at rarer intervals
To those dim trysting woods; and when I came
I brought my cunning worldly wisdom—talked
Of empty forms and marriages in heaven—
To stain that simple soul, God pardon me!
And she would shiver in the stillness, scared
And shocked, with her pathetic eyes—aye proof
Against the fatal, false philosophy.
But my will was the strongest, and my love
The weakest; and she knew it.
“Well, well, well,
I need not talk of that. There came the day
Of our last parting in the ferny glen—
A bitter parting, parting from my life,
Its light and peace for ever! And I turned
To ***** and billiards, politics and wine;
Was wooed by Lady Alice, and half won;
And passed a feverous winter in the world.
Ah, do not frown! You do not understand.
You never knew that hopeless thirst for peace—
That gnawing hunger, gnawing at your life;
The passion, born too late! I tell you, friend,
The ruth, and love, and longing for my child,
It broke my heart at last.
“In the hot days
Of August, I went back; I went alone.
And on old garrulous Margery—relict she
Of some departed seneschal—I rained
My eager questions. ‘Had the poaching been
As ruinous and as audacious as of old?
Were the dogs well? and had she felt the heat?
And—I supposed the keeper, Colin, still
Was somewhere on the place?’
“ ‘Nay, sir,’; said she,
‘But he has left the neighbourhood. He ne'er
Has held his head up since he lost his child,
Poor soul, a month ago.’
“I heard—I heard!
His child—he had but one—my little one,
Whom I had meant to marry in a week!

“ ‘Ah, sir, she turned out badly after all,
The girl we thought a pattern for all girls.
We know not how it happened, for she named
No names. And, sir, it preyed upon her mind,
And weakened it; and she forgot us all,
And seemed as one aye walking in her sleep
She noticed no one—no one but the dog,
A young deerhound that followed her about;
Though him she hugged and kissed in a strange way
When none was by. And Colin, he was hard
Upon the girl; and when she sat so still,
And pale and passive, while he raved and stormed,
Looking beyond him, as it were, he grew
The harder and more harsh. He did not know
That she was not herself. Men are so blind!
But when he saw her floating in the loch,
The moonlight on her face, and her long hair
All tangled in the rushes; saw the hound
Whining and crying, tugging at her plaid—
Ah, sir, it was a death-stroke!’
“This was all.
This was the end of her sweet life—the end
Of all worth having of mine own! At night
I crept across the moors to find her grave,
And kiss the wet earth covering it—and found
The deerhound lying there asleep. Ay me!
It was the bitterest darkness,—nevermore
To break out into dawn and day again!

“And Lady Alice shakes her dainty head,
Lifts her arch eyebrows, smiles, and whispers, “Once
He was a little wild!’ ”
With that he laughed;
Then suddenly flung his face upon the grass,
Crying, “Leave me for a little—let me be!”
And in the dusky stillness hugged his woe,
And wept away his pas
Marge Redelicia  Nov 2013
Reunion
Marge Redelicia Nov 2013
Into a place far away but too familiar,
I push open the rusty purple gates,
Inhale a lungful of the province air,
Kick away blue pebbles on the dusty ground,
And then
Mano my lolo, my tito
Beso my lola, my tita
And give my cousins a nudge on the arm,
A pinch on the cheeks.

I squeeze between four people
In a rickety wooden bench and
Pass around plate after heavy plate.
I fill my banana leaf
With spaghetti too soft too sweet,
Almost like pudding,
With crispy chicken dripping with oil.
I wash it off with a cool glass of gulaman,
Chewy beads and gems in sugary water.

Fathers talk about basketball, boxing, billiards;
Mothers browse through photo albums and magazines;
While we children argue about Superman or Batman.
Our laughter fills the humid air
And goes up, up, up to the ears of the neighbors.

In celebration of the time we have together
And a nice sunny day
We devour our meals
And go ahead and
Climb trees and
Get our faces sticky with sweet fruits,
Lick chocolate ice popsicles,
Chase each other in the weedy playground,
Bike around town,
Pick colorful flowers,
Wrestle with each other,
Play badminton on a windy day,
Scare around chickens and guinea pigs,
And play patintero under the dull orange street lamps.

We nervously creep inside the back door,
All sweaty, bearing bruises and scratches
But still with wide smiles on our faces.
All is futile though.
An angry grandmother awaits,
Scolding us for
Coming home past sunset.

More and more stars glitter the sky
As the night gets deeper and deeper.
The gentle evening breeze whistles a note
As it enters through the window.
The karaoke blasts grating voices
Interrupted by hearty laughter.
Playing cards and corn chips litter the table.
We children exchange jokes and ghost stories.

And then,
We bid our goodbyes,
Sharing hugs and kisses
Stained with discontent and sadness.
Our hearts about to burst
In excitement for the next
Reunion.
A typical Filipino reunion looks more or less like this :)

"Mano" is a respectful gesture done mostly to elders wherein you hold a person's hand and make it touch your forehead. "Beso" is something usually done by ladies wherein you brush cheeks with each other. "Lolo" means grandfather. "Tito" means uncle. "Lola" means grandmother. "Tita" means aunt. "Gulaman" is a popular drink/desert. "Patintero" is a kind of outdoor game wherein a team must prevent the other team from crossing over to the other side of the court by tagging them, it's really fun!
Lost in shadows Jan 2014
From the 1880s into the 1960s, a majority of American states enforced segregation through "Jim Crow" laws (so called after a black character in minstrel shows). From Delaware to California, and from North Dakota to Texas, many states (and cities, too) could impose legal punishments on people for consorting with members of another race. The most common types of laws forbade intermarriage and ordered business owners and public institutions to keep their black and white clientele separated.

Examples of Jim Crow Laws

Nurses: No person or corporation shall require any white female nurse to nurse in wards or rooms in hospitals, either public or private, in which ***** men are placed. (Alabama)

Buses: All passenger stations in this state operated by any motor transportation company shall have separate waiting rooms or space and separate ticket windows for white and colored races. (Alabama)

Railroads: The conductor of each passenger train is authorized and required to assign each passenger to the car or the division of the car, when it is divided by a partition, designated for the race to which such passenger belongs. (Alabama)

Restaurants: It shall be unlawful to conduct a restaurant or other place for the serving of food in the city, at which white and colored people are served in the same room, unless such white and colored persons are effectively separated by a solid partition extending from the floor upward to a distance of seven feet or higher, and unless a separate entrance from the street is provided for each compartment.

Pool and Billiard Rooms: It shall be unlawful for a ***** and white person to play together or in company with each other at any game of pool or billiards. (Alabama)

Toilet Facilities, Male: Every employer of white or ***** males shall provide for such white or ***** males reasonably accessible and separate toilet facilities. (Alabama)

Intermarriage: The marriage of a person of Caucasian blood with a *****, Mongolian, Malay, or Hindu shall be null and void. (Arizona)

Intermarriage: All marriages between a white person and a ***** person or between a white person and a person of ***** descent to the fourth generation inclusive, are hereby forever prohibited. (Florida)

Cohabitation: Any ***** man and white women, or any white man and ***** woman, who are not married to each other, who shall habitually live in and occupy in the nighttime the same room shall each be punished by imprisonment not exceeding twelve (12) months, or by fine not exceeding five hundred ($500.00) dollars. (Florida)

Education: The schools for white children and the schools for ***** children shall be conducted separately. (Florida)

Juvenile Delinquents: There shall be separate buildings, not nearer than one fourth mile from each other, one for white boys and one for ***** boys. White boys and ***** boys shall not, in any manner, be associated together or worked together. (Florida)

Mental Hospitals: The Board of Control shall see that proper and distinct apartments are arranged for said patients, so that in no case shall Negroes and white persons be together. (Georgia)

Intermarriage: It shall be unlawful for a white person to marry anyone except a white person. Any marriage in violation of this section shall be void. (Georgia)

Barbers: No colored barber shall serve as a barber [to] white women or girls. (Georgia)

Burial: The officer in charge shall not bury, or allow to be buried, any colored persons upon ground set apart or used for the burial of white persons. (Georgia)

Restaurants: All persons licensed to conduct a restaurant, shall serve either white people exclusively or colored people exclusively and shall not sell to the two races within the same room or serve the two races anywhere under the same license. (Georgia)

Amateur Baseball: IT shall be unlawful for any amateur white baseball team to play baseball on any vacant lot or baseball diamond within two blocks of a playground devoted to the ***** race, and it shall be unlawful for any amateur colored baseball team to play baseball in any vacant lot or baseball diamond within two blocks of any playground devoted to the white race. (Georgia)
Jade Jul 2018
There goes Lady Fate,
donned in solar sparks
and her lace corset
whose  overt promiscuity
catches the attention of
one unsuspecting astronaut–
his helm fogs as he exhales,
his breath crude and lascivious.
Even Neptune’s eyes themselves
glitter wetly with passion
as she struts towards Polaris in
her pinprick stilettos.

She adjusts her stance accordingly:

I. Purse lips into a smoulder
(might as well look
pretty while ya get the job done.)

II. Aim for the desired target
(that there’s the bull’s eye.)

III. Wreak havoc
just as any Fate is meant to do.
(But, of course.)

She picks up her staff and fires.

The universe tremors
in an unbridled spiral
of colour and chaos
as the planets
d    a    r    t
about like billiards,                                    
                          colliding/|\with/|\ the/|\ stars

who,  in the midst of the madness,
d i v e r g e and c
r* o* s s
for fear of being vanquished.

A cluster of mismatched constellations
and forsaken cosmic particles
settle into a state of
mutual negligence and destruction.
And, together, they liquefy into
a festering pool of molten silver.

Lady Fate grins–
yes, she has the stars right
where she wants them now–
and, in a final act of defiance,
she strikes against the earth
and watches with satisfaction as
it hurtles towards the silver
and sinks down into the molten
like an eight ball.
(And everyone knows it’s
Game Over
once you’ve sunk the eight ball).

From where she stands–
bent over Polaris
in seductive pretentiousness —
she relishes
in the screams
of some wretched lover–
the first to ever be
betrayed by the stars.
Veronica Smith Jun 2013
She sat in an empty booth. It was a Tuesday, mild, with a thin veil of cirrus clouds on the horizon. Somewhere a dog barked. Outside, the Commercial Street Flower Market opened for business. A ******* stood on the corner.
        With one the sitting woman opened the menu, scanned it, and dropped it back on the table. A bleach-blond waitress arrived. Before the waitress spoke, the sitting woman cut in.
“I’d like home fries, fruit salad, and a cup of earl grey, please.” The waitress nodded, slightly wary, and scribbled the order on her yellowed order pad. The woman went back to staring at her fingers. The waitress left.
She opened her purse, rummaged around, and grasped a worn paperback of Vonnegut’s Slaughterhouse Five. A small likeness of a snake twirled up her left index. She wore beige eye shadow and a full set of fake lashes. Her nails were lacquered candy apple red. There was a large scar on her neck. Sighing, she settled in to read. The snake ring’s eyes were rubies; as she turned the page, they glistened brightly. The café’s door jangled. Seconds later, a man slid in to the seat opposite her.
“You’re late,” she said. The man smiled. He had lidded Egyptian eyes and a set of straight, white, fluoridated teeth.
“So terribly sorry. Pressing issues.” He tapped a finger on the plastic table. The woman licked a finger and turned a creased page.
“Still reading that blasted book, are we? How many times has it been now, Laura? Twelve?”
“Fifteen, to be exact.” The waitress arrived with plates of bright fruit and steaming potato. She waitress had poorly tattooed eyebrows. They rose.
“Can I get you anything?” she said to the man.
“Strong cup of coffee. Two cubes sugar, slice of lemon on the side. Thanks.” The waitress smiled.
“Certainly. Your tea will be in, miss.” Laura nodded. The waitress sashayed off and the man leaned in, breaking the barrier between them.
“Why are you still reading that godawful book? Wasn’t once in Junior year enough?”
“No, it wasn’t. If you don’t mind, let’s get to the point. What are you doing here, Jack? I know it has nothing to do with harassing me over my literary opinions.” The book closed with a muffled snap. She slid it back in to her large purse and adjusted her dress.
“I got the part.” He said the two words with barely veiled excitement; they sounded unnatural and foreign.
“What in the name of God are you talking about?” she asked. She stabbed a home fry with her fork and sprinkled it with salt.
“I’ve made it in, Laur.” He said. She dragged the fry through a small puddle of ketchup and smiled. She leaned back and drew her hands through her hair, bit her lip.
“Who’s directing?” she asked. The waitress arrived again and they both leaned back, away from each other. He nodded his thanks, blew on his coffee, and drank deeply. She dipped her finger in the cup of tea.
“Some guy by the name of Cranston. Will, I think. He’s good. Directed a film called The Devil in Whitethorn. You might call him an artist.”
“Oh, Christ. You’ve made your big break, have you? With a ****** arthouse director no one’s heard about? I’m impressed, Jack. Real impressed.” She sipped her tea. “What’s your deep, philosophical movie about, Jack?”
“A man dragged wrongfully in to hell who has to prove to the Devil that he is a good man,” Jack said. His chin rose slightly. “he goes through his life as an invisible man, observing all of his human mistakes. Eventually he discovers that Hell is just another version of Heaven and it’s all a test to get him to look at his life as an outsider. I play the college version of the lead. I’m third-highest billed.” He reached over and snatched a strawberry from her plate. She smirked.
“Wow,” she said, “sounds deep. Almost like one of the sappier episodes of The Twilight Zone, twist and all. Tell me, does Shatner play a PTSD-riddled man who sees monsters on an airplane? Is the Devil a fan of billiards? How many aliens are in this movie of yours?” she smiled at him, exposing a line of somewhat crooked teeth. “A movie, huh? Congrats.”
“Many thanks. I thought that someone who appreciated the subtle insanity of Vonnegut might appreciate a good deep film. Are you going to finish those?” he gestured at the fries. Six of them remained. Laura slid them across the table and tucked in to the fruit plate. “No more awful local commercials for me, love.” She scoffed at that.
“You’re a crap commercial actor. How much money are you getting for this little highbrow film of yours? One K or two?” She stabbed a honeydew square and crunched it between red lips.
“Four, doll. More than you make in a month.” Her cheeks reddened.
“I don’t need much, Jack. You of all people should know that.” She coughed lightly in to her napkin. “You’re a tricky *******. How long have you known?” He licked a spot of ketchup off of his  finger.
“Oh… Five weeks? Six? Somewhere around there. We start shooting next month.” He leaned forward, lightly brushing the back of her hand with his fingers. “It’ll premier downtown on the seventh of July. Be prepared, since I’m dragging you out there with me. You’ll need a cocktail dress and modest makeup.”
“How modest is modest?” she asked. He surveyed her face, scanning with his eyes squinted slightly. Her face flushed a touch more.
“Hmm…” he said, “drop the red lipstick, add a few more spots of cover-up, light champagne eye shadow and less blush. Also, ditch the falsies.” She laughed, a light trill.
“I don’t leave the house without them. I suppose I can scour my collection for some more… What was the word you used? Modest pairs.” His fingers stopped rubbing the thin, veined skin on the back of her right hand for a short moment.
“In other words, you’ve said yes.”
“Yes, I have.” He dropped a ten-dollar bill on the table and stood up. “Call me some time. You haven’t forgotten my number, have you?” Laura grinned. He picked up the lemon, separated the meat from the rind, and rubbed the white flesh on his teeth.
“No, I haven’t.” He dropped a single white envelope on the table. She surveyed it, placing it next to the tattered paperback in her purse. He walked away.
“Oh, and Jack?” she called without looking back at him. He stopped mid-step. “I wasn’t wearing blush today.”
He grinned harder, waved his goodbyes to the waitress, and left. The door jangled. She finished the last dregs of her tea, dropped a twenty dollar bill on the table, and stood up. It was a beautiful morning. She walked outside. The bells on the entrance jangled, stilled, and their song died.
Written under the influence of WAY too much Hemingway.
Jake O Apr 2015
Prom night
She stood there all alone
Tapping her foot to the beat
In the back left corner pocket

The cue ball decided it was time to end the game of billiards
He spotted the eight ball all alone
Nodding his head to the music
And the cue ball called the shot
Into the back left corner pocket

He rolled forward
Steps calculated
Swagger restrained
Sights set on the back left corner pocket

He conversed with the eight ball
Talking to him
Coaxing him to move
Toward the back left corner pocket

The cue ball watched from a distance
Having already imparted all its momentum
As the eight ball headed
For the back left corner pocket

The eight ball was unsure
Dressed in a black button up shirt
With matching dress pants
But he continued to roll
To the back left corner pocket

He motioned for the girl to follow
And hand in hand
They left for the dance floor together
They left the back left corner pocket

The cue ball sat back and admired his work
The other billiards player left
Having lost to the usual call
The winner always sank that last shot
Into the back left corner pocket
Iris Liu  Mar 2012
Untitled
Iris Liu Mar 2012
globe lanterns
christmas lights
Shakespeare Andy Wharhol
billiards to the brim

tinsel
sandwich boards
microwaves
dust-covered couches
empty trash cans

lonely children
We used to play billiards
and fight all the fire.
We'd drink tea
from cheap mugs,

read The Economist
or newspaper,
chat about boyfriends,
girlfriends,

what was and wasn't a rumour?
The printer munched on paper,
lounge about on scratchy chairs.
50% revision, 50% laughter.

Psychology was me
with a group of girls.
How many people, where, when,
and what was it Freud said again?

Spanish was the same,
me, L, C and E.
Picasso's view of war, a bull and a flower,
grammar overload in the afternoon.

And then there was English.
Can you hear me Fitzgerald?
On a row of females (not just one),
roses, four stories and a single trumpet.

On the garish bus
to see the Manor or the specialists,
to walk up and down aisles in Asda,
talking music with baguettes and meatballs.

Two years came, two years went.
Exams, goodbyes, brown envelopes arrived.
After tapas and a holiday
came sly September.

Here I was with fresh men,
different faces from different places.
So I walked up the steps
into the next avenue.
Written: April 2012 and April 2013.
Explanation: A poem about my time in sixth form. Took a while to write because I had to remember certain things about the classes I did. The poem contains references to computer games, people and locations, among a few others.
Sukanya Basu Dec 2013
Through the nature that i've travelled
There's so much to unravel
And the sea's that i've swum
Whether fishes are dumb
And the skies that are blue
Do they wear lace shoes?
Those dinosaurs which were ugly
Did they shave their legs regularly?
Do flying fishes even fly
Or its just a rumor spread by cats
So that it can eat every time a human has its catch
Did apes develop into humans
Or totally vice-versa
Before we know it we'll go extinct
And apes on trees will have sips of *****
Do kangaroos have pockets from birth
Or did they buy from Denims
Before i know it dogs will purr
And rocks will have feelings
Do owls sleep or act their way through the day
It will not be Meryl Streep but them, catching the oscar and walking away!
Do snakes hiss by nature or just be angry due to their body folds
Before i know it others will wear Jimmychoo's and all they'll do is catch a cold!
DO lions have smelling ability or they just put a tracking device
Playing billiards in 'Catsino' and using cell phones made of mice?!
Do eagles, the pilots of the sky have pretty air hostesses attend to
Or locate and make a buffet out of the, that's exactly what i'm referring to!
Its this jungle or paradise, or what a new age city?
Casino's of lions, oscars for owls, that's my LIFE'S EXPECTANCY !

— The End —