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padPhotograph by Tom Haynes:

Dear Starkness, my old friend,

You weren’t so desperate when we first met. Your body was pregnant with the possibility of adventure. All I had to do was think and you came to life. So eager were you to expose the markings of my ink that I turned red. Now when I try, everything comes out stale. You ruined it. You made me your everything just so you could stare blankly into space while I tried. And I tried so hard.

- a crimson pen

Lip Gloss


I saw her mouth as a vicious knife. Slick and skinny with a biting quality that lingers. She could be cutting. Words flew from her with a force greater than God. She had that much power.

I was sitting in the back shelf of a makeup counter when I first saw her mouth move. She had just told her daughter off. Is that makeup you’re wearing? – you look like a floozy. I felt my body ache as the daughter picked me up and stuffed me, crammed me, into her pocket.

Hidden from the light, I will forever remain her dirty little secret.

3 things to remember about your fire alarm

fire alarm

Photograph by Tom Haynes at:

3 things to understand about your fire alarm

  1. Some things need more attention than others. When your alarm screams and flashes at you for seemingly no reason at all, it just needs the knowledge that you understand. You are the fire alarms whole life.
  2. Fire alarms are sensitive. Sometimes when they go off, it can seem like over kill. To the fire alarm, even the most innocuous threat seems real. It’s best to go back to #1 and pay attention to the fire alarm’s needs.
  3. Fire alarms will die for you. They take their job more seriously than anything else in their life. Although they may have their quirks and annoyances, they are first and foremost, your hero.

Old Hat



The brown wool hat had been knitted with love and care. Through hours of time and precision he was marked superior to all the other hats that hung, unused on the coat rack.

“Hey – do you think she’ll pick me today?” Old Gray Hat asked Brown Hat one afternoon.

“Of course. Any day now.”

“She didn’t pick me yesterday or the day before though. I’m starting to have my doubts,” Old Gray Hat was beginning to unravel. “I’ve come to expect neglect in the summer, but these days… there’s just no good excuse.”

“I know what you mean,” but Brown Hat didn’t. Unaccustomed to his popularity, he smiled and said, “I can feel it though. You’re going to be picked.”

“Do you think she’s going to wear that coat with the pearl buttons? If she wears the coat with the pearl buttons then I’m sure she’ll wear me. We were a pair back in the day.”

“Oh yes, I can see that.”

“I haven’t seen Pearl in almost a year.”

Brown Hat knew Pearl quite well, but he tried to steer clear of her mention. Not two days earlier they were the best of partners, but now he began to wonder if she wasn’t always in a pair. When they were safely bundled to go outside, Pearl had commented on what a great team they made. She was classy in her buttoned all the way to the top, kind of way. Pearl wasn’t the type to wear fur around the collar and Brown Hat didn’t take her for the type to need accessories. Did she always have a hat? He tried to recall Pearl without someone tipping their hat to her, but when he could not remember her alone he became quiet. What was once special, now seemed dreary and worn out.

“I’m sure she’s doing alright,” he snapped suddenly.

“Oh,” Old Gray Hat paused. “Well, I’m sure I’ll see her again.”

Remote Control

Remote ControlPhoto by Tom Haynes

 Tom’s Blog

“What is your idea of perfect happiness?” A wiry game show host sits on a couch in a staged living room. He holds his microphone out, hoping to record everything.

The tv remote blinks. Flashes of green scan the room for any chance of reception. He wants control. He wants excitement. He never wants to feel that shrug of indifference that comes with the heavy sigh of boredom. But how can he say his idea of happiness is to be able to change scenes at the click of a button? Where is his loyalty?

He remembers the night he was so enamoured with Paris Hilton. Her long, delicate legs had stepped out of the limo, one at a time, so gracefully. Her skirt glimmered from the bright lights of the paparazzi. She was so glamorous. How could he not watch her every night for weeks as she graced his presence on the tv? She was perfect.

And then there was that one day. He took one quick look at her long blond hair and knew that it was over. Maybe it was the way she smiled – so quiet and distant. Or maybe it was that he knew every move she would make ahead of time. Whatever it was, he didn’t feel the same way about her as he once did. Her face looked old and in that familiar way, he felt the pull to change. He needed something new. Something exciting. He changed the channel.

The tv remote stared straight into the announcers eyes and said, without blinking, “the ability to change.” 

Dear Cigarette

_295cigarettePhoto by Tom Haynes


Dear cigarettes,

When we first met it was like love at first sight. I still remember our late nights out on the town. Back when all we did was go out and dance and have fun everything seemed so innocent. But it couldn’t stay that way. I remember the first night you came over. We were on the porch together, gazing at the stars and pondering the thoughts of the universe. You were so cool – not trying to impress anyone, you let your faults be known. I was okay with it. It’s not like we were exclusive.

But then there was that one day after statistics class. I was frustrated, tired, annoyed with life and you were there. Waiting for me. I told you I couldn’t see you right now, I had to have time to cool off. I had to have my space for a minute. You persisted. You kept telling me you needed me and it was in that moment that I gave in.

It was like you were addicted to the weaknesses in my life. The moments where I felt anxious, upset, depressed or just lonely. You were always around when I needed you, you lived off those times.

You grew demanding. You wanted more money. You wanted more time. You wanted something that I could barely give, but did anyway. When I tried to leave you, you kept coming back. I would see you everywhere. In the neon lit convenient store down the block. In bars we used to go to. Even my porch seemed haunted by you.

I know we’re in an unhealthy relationship. I know I suck when I’m around you. But I just want to say, for all the times I said I hate you, I’ll never fully mean it. There’s always a part of me that lights up.


The Water Bottle

water bottlePhotograph by Tom Haynes 

Name: Water Bottle

Age: Timeless

Sex: Female

Location: Your apartment

Strengths: I’m adaptable and can conform to any situation. Whatever holds me, keeps me.

Weaknesses: I move around a lot. A bit of a lush. I don’t like a lot of excitement.

Three things I couldn’t live without:

  1. Plastic
  2. Purity
  3. Transparency
  4. A thirst for knowledge

What I’m looking for: Someone that melts my rough edges. A drifter. A free flowing poet. Someone who won’t drain me when I’m already down.

Turn Offs:

  • Dry sense of humor
  • People that can’t go with the flow
  • Impure thoughts

Perfect date:

I like long hikes in the woods and sunny afternoons outside.

Favorite Movies:

Drowning Mona, The Great Flood, Water for Chocolate, Rain man.

Favorite Books:

The Perfect Storm.

Favorite Quote: “I’m not looking to be your flavor of the month.”