Thursday, November 26, 2009

SS&PP Day 3

Happy Black Friday, shoppers! I hope no one got mown down at 4am outside local department store. 

We've finally come to our top three finalists in the Sudden Stories & Prose Poetry contest.  A special thank you and congratulations to Janet Harrison and Arlene Stanton, our tied-for-silver medalists, and Patrick J. Walczy, who won the grand prize - a free workshop.  It was a pleasure to meet Patrick at the Open House!  Here are our winners, and have a fantastic holiday weekend, all.


It Happened On The Red Line

Temperatures had dipped below freezing yet he entered the Metro car in sandals worn over two pairs of thick socks, torn jeans, and a soiled trench coat belted with a piece of clothesline. He hadn’t shaved in several days and his mud brown, collar length hair was wildly uneven, as if he had hacked it off himself with a pair of dull sewing scissors.

At the next stop a young mother got on with her two children. The girl sat next to her mother and began to read a book. Her more obstreperous brother asserted his independence by sitting across the aisle, next to the trench-coated man.

“Do you want to see something?” asked the man, opening his coat.

His mother and I both tensed, but I was closer. I had no clear idea what I would do if the man exposed himself, except insert myself between the two, shielding the boy with my body.

The man reached under his coat, and pulled out a cockatiel . “She goes everywhere with me, but  now she has to hide because they don’t want her on Metro.” He gently slid her back.

“What’s her name?” asked the little boy.

The man brought her out again and considered. “You know,” he said, “She’s a special bird and she has lots of names. What do you think her name should be today?”

Transfixed, the boy stared at the bird. “Clorox,” he finally decided, “Because she’s so white.”

                                                -J. M. R. Harrison (Janet)



I didn’t know she knew how to operate a wrecking ball so I’m surprised when the fourth wall of our condo’s living room explodes inward. The pictures of us smiling in exotic locales come flying past and daylight cracks in. I hear her laugh, her cackle, as the patched ball retreats and begins a slow swing backward. It pauses after it divorces from momentum and then begins its valiant charge back at me, back at the memories of us. I destroyed the life we made by saying things that were false. Now she destroys the same with rented heavy-duty machinery. The ball reenters, this time breaking through everything we saw fit to hang and display, things that we thought would make people smile, but not us. It’s loud like two sticks of dynamite having sex. The ball swings past my head, shedding dust, plaster, the presents we bought, but never wrapped. The fourth wall is completely gone, everything is exposed to the afternoon sunlight. So tell me, you, where do we go from here? Google maps doesn’t have these kinds of directions. Where do we go? Don’t think, just distract her while I power that thing down. Then her and I can talk, just like we used to. 
                                                          -Patrick J. Walczy

We hope you've enjoyed reading.  Thanks again to our submitters!

Try your own sudden stories and prose poems this weekend.  Write about family, gratitude, the sensation of being full - whatever you choose, try to capture it succinctly and powerfully, reminding yourself once more of the brilliance of words, and the weight they carry when used in just the right way.  You get no more than 250, so use them well. Happy Thanksgiving to all.

No comments: