Monthly Archives: June 2012

Trifecta Challenge: Deny Me Thrice

Peter wept behind the brush with such vengeance vomit began to dribble down his bearded chin. The crowd behind him moved in one, large sweeping motion. They chanted for blood and looked for someone to crucify and condemn to the cold nothingness of death and yet they noticed him not.  Tears formed into gushing puddles in the corner of his wrinkled eyes as he bit down on the wool cloak his Lord had given him the night before last. What a happy night it was, food was plentiful and the music lively. The Master told stories and the disciples listened and laughed, they praised and danced and read from the Psalms as night turned into morning.

Now it was all gone. The mob had Him and Peter could do nothing about it but hold the remains of his shattered heart and hide from the raging anarchy with a disgust he never felt before. He retreated a little further down the sharp bank and fell on his knees in agony. In his mind he heard the rooster crow and the pain of betrayal burnt his conscience. He let out a sorrowful howl towards the glistening skyline and the earth responded by quaking underneath his feet. A stiff wind arose from the south and dried the tears which formed on his dirty face and beckoned him to stand and go forth to the place where He was being led, to the valley of the shadow of death, where mercy was waiting with open arms.

Yet he hesitated and remembered the words spoken by Him three times on that cold night before last. “Peter, what I tell you three times is true. Before the rooster crows you shall deny me thrice.”

Oh, cursed man that I am! Lord, will you not deal swiftly with my treachery and take the very breath from my chest? Peter could not remember a darker night.

And then the Lord spoke to him,

“Peter, you are written on My very heart.”

"What I tell you three times is true" Lewis Carroll

Prompt One:
                  Write a 33-333 word response to the following quote: “What I tell you three times is true.” by Lewis Carroll. You do not have to use the actual quote in your response, but you may if you wish.


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100 Words: Oak and Emerald

Sunlight turned the oak leaves into gleaming emeralds. Its massive trunk had withstood the violent thunderstorm last night because its decade old roots had tunneled for miles unseen beneath us, taking hold of the ground as if in desperation, as if waiting on some phenomenon to take place which humans cannot see nor touch, but only feel deep in their souls like a glowing flame, kindled by wind, stoked by the breath of God. Ancient limbs swagger back and forth sending thousands of lustrous green stones into a nightmarish dance. I walk along its path hesitantly, without looking up again.

Current Prompt: Swagger


Friday Night Follies: With apologies to Steve Buscemi

Long Island New York circa 2012
Photography by Gabriel

June is a fun month filled with frumpy old men mowing lawns, ice cream trucks selling frozen sugar on sticks, children hurling water balloons at unsuspecting victims and sporadic oppressive heat waves which make me want to crawl up in a cool cave somewhere until it blows over. I don’t actually want to sleep in a cave I just thought it went nicely with the rest of the sentence. For the better part of my life I preferred the brisk air of winter but after several weeks of shoveling slush I long for springs resurrecting touch when trees rain down pollen and sprinklers waste drinkable water hosing down sidewalks and everything else except our grass. After summer bumps spring out of the picture for awhile we look forward to fireworks and  and laughter of good friends cracking expensive beer and throwing away perfectly good chicken thighs because one or two managed to hit the ground. I don’t know what the big fuss is about they are perfectly edible. I love how the sun ricochets of the tops of barbecues while hotdogs burn and cheese melts underneath its scorching roof. Dogs barking in the distance. Kids jumping in pools. More ice cream being sold. More water wasted. It is a wonderful time to relax on our loungers and fall asleep while trying to catch some sun before it retreats behind the surface of the earth. Make sure you set an egg timer or something you really don’t want to burn.

After a few weeks of humidity and eating macaroni salad people start complaining about the heat. I am grateful to have lived with all four seasons. Funny how we grumble when the sun scorches us, we moan when frosty sneezes and turns the earth into a frozen wasteland, we can never seem to get our stories straight. June clouds remind me of Florida. At the risk of sounding corny I would say they are happy clouds. Bright and puffy, like someone took a bag of marshmallows and put it in a microwave for thirteen minutes and waited for it to explode in one cataclysmic orgy of white froth. It’s a good time to be young and single with my kick-ass van and a full tank of gas. I don’t know little things make me happy, even if only for a moment. The road before me holds mysteries too great for me to know, and the clouds which I spoke so highly of, hang high above me as if to protect my noggin from unseen pieces of space junk. The Mets game screeches from my radio, I think someone hit a home run but I’m not sure it could have been an advertisement for suntan lotion or a million other trinkets one needs to survive summertime madness. Fly swatters, for instance, can be extremely valuable, especially if you neglect to eat the rest of your rice pudding. American flags to show your patriotism, music to cleanse your soul and pictures to capture memories in the making and remind us of summers long gone and those yet to come. Some of us remember the intimate moments spent under a warm night sky with a girlfriend. Remembering how her eyes glowed, like two emeralds sitting among diamonds. Hair falls softly over her face in one poetic motion.  Yeah, June is a good month with family birthdays and calming breezes.

I had the pleasure to watch a friend of mine play softball yesterday. She executed perfectly on both sides of the ball, even did a little line judging. I sat in the bleachers with sweat dripping from my snoopy-like nose and watched grown adults run around a field of dirt trying to prove something. I rather enjoyed sitting there with Bella hanging off my neck and you can refresh those naughty thoughts because Bella is my camera. Looking at the perfectly manicured lawn and towering spot lights I began to ponder why we all run in circles. Like a bunch of nuts in a Marx Brothers short, we play games to impress other people. We sit in bleachers and watch live competitions to ignite something within ourselves. We watch parades to inspire our sense of community. We ramble on blogs so someone will notice.  We just keep on running around the mountain till someone comes along to make us stop acting like puppets, little puppet people playing with puppets. I want to find the puppeteer, push him aside and cut the strings attached to my own back and make my own kind of music. When you are a part of something bigger than yourself, like these ball players, you gain a sense of belonging in a world so bent on pushing people away. I thought about all this and watched some old guy on the opposing team hit a pop up and run for all he was worth. I think I heard a knee pop before the ump called him out at first. It’s great how we all come together and just run in circles. I am in need of a new track to sprint around because this one has become worn and nonproductive.

Steve Buscemi in Grown Ups
Happy Madison Productions 2010

Other than watching Grown Ups for the first time and finding it extremely comical, I had no real explanation for putting this photo in the article. But if you look closely it really does have the capacity to put a smile on your face so maybe I did it on purpose. I like Buscemi because he’s brilliant plain and simple.  I appreciate talent when I see it and this guy has proven himself multiple times over. Whether playing gangster or jokester, Steve makes watching movies a little less of a burden because you can only expect the best. Only two actors can do this. The other is Nicholson. Anyway, I hope all of you enjoying this heat wave stay calm and cool. Stop trying to run circles around everyone and everything. You will only tire yourself out and if you do, you will never make it to home plate. Cheers.


100 Words: Scent of a dream

The smell of perfume lingered only for a moment before the cold breeze stole it from under my nose. It was soft, like a rose petal after a gentle rain, mixed with a sweet berry I could not place. The memory of her sunk deep in my belly, invigorating every sense a human being was created to experience and yet I push forward, knowing this too shall pass. This memory, this dream which may have been a figment of a wanting heart, fades slowly towards oblivion. Destiny awaits me down a road less traveled, arise and go forth young man. 

Current Prompt: Invigorating


To live a better story.

Image

Long Island New York circa 2012
Photography by Gabriel

            At some point during the night, the Spirit led me towards a foggy shoreline blanketed with smooth grey and white stones which filled the apple of my eye for as far as I could dare to see. A silence of biblical proportions swept over this dream and yet the only sound which could be heard was of tide gently slapping rocks beneath my feet. Horrific clouds reached for miles above me and stretched the width of many great nations before cracking open and releasing wave after wave of life giving water to the parched earth on which I stood like a pawn waiting to be moved by forces unseen. The darkness came, the earth stood still, I looked for cover and waited for an eruption of light to come screaming down from the netherworld to vanquish evil once, for all always. But everything remained still. The nothingness continued.

I thought it might be considered, by some, to be quite presumptuous of me to post multiple articles in a relatively short time period but I began to ponder who I thought I was to contend with the winds of inspiration and challenge its’ coming and going and just be grateful the words entered my heart in the first place. Whenever the poetic strings are plucked it would be to my advantage to heed the song and yet resisting these moments of creativity could in fact alter future endeavors I would wish to undertake with my pen and pad, actually, I loathe writing longhand but respect people who prefer to use this method to get their individual thoughts and ideas down. I have a tendency to get easily distracted and longhand makes writing more difficult because I have to center most of my short attention span on spelling and staying between the lines. Suffice to say I shall stick with my laptop and the Microsoft Word program installed within.

A good story is concocted deep inside the inner most chambers of a creative heart before working its way to the imagination where the fine tuning begins. Letters are pumped through the blood stream until they morph into words which other people will be able to recognize once you jot them down. Writing must come from the heart or else you run the risk of failing to keep your audience interested and, ultimately, inspired and this is, for all intent and purposes, the very reason we write in the first place. When my stomach begins twisting for food my first instinct is to make a sandwich and yet when I do it turns out to be anticlimactic because I fail to put the heart behind what I choose to consume. I despise cooking so whatever I make turns out to be nothing short of tasteless.

Donald Miller writes like this. After reading his book “A million miles in a thousand years” for the third time this year, I have grown to admire this man and the words which he uses to describe life and the pursuit of something more than just everyday mediocrity. He brings us on a journey based on his attempt to live a better story by walking in faith and partially by sight, and challenges us to step out and live extraordinary lives. Donald writes, “I’ve wondered if one of tImagehe reasons we fail to acknowledge the brilliance of life is because we don’t want the responsibility inherent in the acknowledgement. We don’t want to be characters in a story because characters have to move and breathe and face conflict with courage. And if life isn’t remarkable, then we don’t have to do any of that; we can be unwilling victims rather than grateful participants.”  He goes on to discuss what he calls “inciting incidences” and describes it as possible life changing events. Don said “Great stories go to those who don’t give in to fear.” He gives us a few examples in this excellent read on how he caused a chain reaction which affected the lives of everyone he came in contact with. He hiked the Inca Trail at Machu Picchu to capture the heart of a young woman he was trying to court. He biked from Los Angeles to Washington D.C with fifteen other adventurers in order to bring awareness to the suffering of the world, and in the process change his own personal story so it would reflect outwards to reach a wider audience of people stuck in the traffic of life. He brings wit and humor to the table once again for people like me who need an inciting incident to kick-start the story I know is living inside of me waiting to be printed and bounded in all its coolness. I am going to end this blog with an excerpt from Donald’s book and I implore you to get in your car and go pick up a copy I promise it will be money well spent. Until next time, adios!

A good storyteller doesn’t just tell a better story, though. He invites other people into the story with him, giving them a better story too.”


100 Words: To tell it on a mountain

Reflecting streams of sunlight caused the book before me to glow with an unearthly brilliance one cannot fully describe unless one was present to observe the leather and papyrus for themselves. My life bled from the ancient pages lying within. How this novel came to exist perplexed me but I read on, sometimes smiling, mostly melancholy. Many sheets remained blank due to my own cowardice and poverty and yet I continue forth on this journey, making sure I find life and all the goodness one hopes to encounter down unknown roads. As we walk the recorder is on, remain courageous.

Current Prompt: Reflecting

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Triton in the Sky.

Triton in the Sky.

Long Island New York circa 2012
Photography by Gabriel

As the result of unseen cosmic earthquakes beyond the clouded barrier, the sky cracked open with a flash and tossed the sea to and fro allowing both wind and reed to interlock in a perpetual battle for the ages.