Showing posts from September, 2014

She Never Used Words

A cinquain:


I’ve practiced
in the mirror
the looks that I had tried
to avoid growing up under
my mom.

-JR Simmang

Tell it to the Coal Miner's Daughter

This poem is a runner up in the Writer's Digest April Poem-a-Day challenge. The form is the Lai, the French puzzle. It drove me crazy the first time I wrote one.


Our winter
lands, hindered
tools splintered,
breath rendered
[Sic] Centered,
filled by her
-JR Simmang

Two By Two

Forewarning: this one's a little weird.


The third arm scratched my butt before I realized I had an itch, so I said thank you as if it were someone else. The fourth arm, the one sticking straight from my left nipple tipped over Roland’s water cup.

“Dude, watch out!” He lurched forward to catch the glass before it shattered on the ground.

“Sorry, man. Still trying to get used to this.” One arm out my nipple, the other out my back.

He looked up at me, his lip curling upward, his eyebrows cocked. “Bro, you are messed up.”

“Yeah. I know. Thanks.” The single wing sitting on top of my head flapped, downy raining down around my eyes. I inhaled a feather. “What the hell am I going to do with this? It could’ve sprung forth from my back, all majestic and shit, and instead an anemic chicken somewhere is flying around in circles.”

Roland burst out laughing. “Well…” he took a deep breath. “You’re going to have to drink it all.”

“Fuck you.”

“Do it.”


“DO it!”


“DO IT!”



The last in a line of sea monster themed stories... for now.

I saw her again on the tarmac, I tell myself again because no one is listening. Her blonde hair, her thighs, her elfin hands. Cypher sidles up next to me, and we’re off toward the SS Farborn.

The helicopter makes its touchdown on the helipad, located aft, 2.3 hours later. We are greeted by a man in bright orange coveralls. He introduces himself as Sgt. Maj. Raleigh.

“Come with me,” and he motions toward the cabin.

I follow behind and squint back over the horizon as the sun shudders. The quick solution for seasickness, they say.

Inside, Raleigh runs through the bells and whistles on the control panel. “This is the most advanced
SONAR surveillance system to date. It can penetrate depths of 20,000 leagues [insert gratuitous Nemo joke], and no surface is clear of echo.”

It sounds impressive.

“Captain. It’s back.”

He bows briefly to join the ensign at the readout. “The same blip?”

“Yes sir,” he says.

Portside, the ship rocks…

A Kracken to Call Our Own

A light-hearted piece:

Quanahoc Island. 2014. The water is murky, cloudy, dirty, no doubt the intention of some dastardly plan.

I am submerged, isolated. Yet, I am the only hope for the planet. My captain, and only compatriot, has gone AWOL. I cannot blame him.

Oh the humanity. HUMANITY!

The water begins to boil underneath me. All over, tiny whirlpools dip and drop beneath the surface. I feel as though I am a salad being tossed by the sea.

The first tentacles wrap up either side of the boat, and the line drops. Water seeps onto the prow.
“No!” I cry. “Save yourselves,” I beseech.

There is a tug again, and I resolve I must-

“Ellis? Did you just shout something?”

-fight back!

I grab the shipboard axe, take a deep breath, and leap over the side! With one hack, I send a tentacle into the deep. That’s when I get a look at its face. IT’S HUMAN!

I’m splashing all around me, my axe slamming into the tentacles as a moth does into a light bulb! And soon the water turns into a sludgy slime.


The Adventures of a Wayward Professor

This, I believe, has potential for development. Those of you who read, if you'd be so kind as to leave honest feedback.


After a restful night, it was wonderful to wake up to the sounds of lumber cracking and the screams of men. I gathered my notebook, knife, and collection tubes. I sleep in my clothes.

“Professor Richmond, I believe you are being summoned above decks!” shouted young Master Delvish.

“Good heavens,” I said as I wobbled my way up the narrow staircase. “He seems to be a little larger than how I read him.”

Water was pouring in through the doorway. “He’s certainly large!” My young protégé laughed as ocean brine soaked through his smart doublet and trousers.

On the deck, my men were scrambling to gather the ropes, harnesses, and nets.

“Where’s Captain Forsythe?”

Master at Arms Griffin cast a sideways glance at me (ever the stoic). “It appears the dear Captain has decided now was the appropriate time to learn how to do the front stroke.” He coc…

Day One, and the beginnings of something else

I've decided to try my hand at some sort of psychological horror. It's a genre that's entirely not in my comfort zone.


Mother said that our lives are messy homes. Sometimes, the doors to the rooms are locked. As we travel through the rooms, learn them, clean them, we find the keys to doors we knew were locked. They will open for us (but not until we’re ready), and on the other side we’ll find another dirty room that needs us to straighten them up.

I’m in the kitchen, the heartstone. Mother left clues for me. I found the key to the kitchen in the living room, under the broken brick in the fireplace. She said that’s where I first landed when I was learning to fly. I sat down in the middle of the floor, exhausted and perturbed. I had to think. Think. Think.
Then it hit me. The refrigerator magnets. I stood up almost too fast; the blood rushed from my head.
But I could see it there shining and perfect, and I plucked the key from the refrigerator door. This one would o…

Memory is a Fragile Thing, Part 3

Chapter 3: Sevastopol

The boat onto the shore of southern Ukraine. This skiff pilot and I have one thing in common: silence. I nod my head as I disembark and he passes me a parcel. I can only assume it’s my per diem and passports. He fades off into the ink once again, and I am stranded.

Sevastopol’s city lights clang off the low-lying clouds in the early morning. 0400. The hour of quixotic renege and only 28 minutes away. I feel my mind drifting into other parts of me.

I shake off this persistent nag and move my feet toward the city. The ground is mainly flat, affording me a steady pace. The earth is holding its breath, and the sound of the waves soon becomes a waning tingle at the back of my neck.


“Report: 07.23.13.


Rafe and Tomas,

Shred paperwork, 02114-02116.5″

“And that’s all it says?”

“That’s it.”

“So, we’ll have to can it.”

“It’s too late now, Tomas.”


“…He’s gone.”


There’s a small inn near the South Bay. That i…

Memory is a Fragile Thing, Part 2


The breeze is welcome, salted like caramel should be, and the sounds of Trebzon are absorbed into the walls of this hotel room. I lay back on the bed and let the perspiration pool on my forehead and
cool me. My fingers reach out and touch the twin Sigs on the nightstand. Suddenly, I’m furious.

I jolt upright, stand, and rush to the curtains. I rip them from the wall, and quickly I begin tearing at them, ripping them, shredding them with my hands, leaving strips of white muslin gathering into puddles on the floor.

I devolve into sobbing.

And it passes. I retreat back to the bed and reach out once more to my pistols. They are but bits of metal. Eventually, I realize they will return once again to the Earth.

In the corner of the room, the hinged box beckons.


“In his room.”

“So the procedure worked.”

“9 out of 10 times.”

“I don’t like those odds, Rafe.”

“You don’t have to. If he fails, he dies.”

“And we start over.”


I open the box, which is of recent design, metal, heav…