The Toys


Photo by Luke Bultman

“Look!” Red Feather pointed his gun toward the puppy. “There it is!”

His trusty friend raised the mighty sword as if to try and slice the dog down.

“Wait!” Red Feather said suddenly.

The puppy was just the latest distraction for the boy. There was a time with the boy would do nothing but play with his toys all afternoon. They would go on adventures through the most daring of seas and fight the most dangerous of pirates and they survived in the most heroic of ways. Sometimes there were furry stuffed sharks involved, other times it was a rubber dinosaur. Lately the enemy seemed to be time.

He spent hours bent over his books and homework. When he finally looked up, he was too tired to pull Red Feather’s boat off the shelf. Instead, he would gaze into his computer screen and type at a lightening fast speed. It wasn’t just the computer that hijacked our time together. It was the television, the phone, and the video games. One afternoon when even the pirates were looking bored, his mother burst into his room with a yapping beast that bounded happily onto his bed.

“I think you need something to keep you off of all that technology,” she said with her hands on her hips, grinning knowingly at the boy.

But what about us? I looked around the room at the new posters that mapped out his experience of middle school. An unframed poster of The Misfits was tacked up alongside the clown shaped lamp. A photograph of his family wearing identical Red Sox caps was replaced by a group of gangly twelve year olds grinning into the camera.

“This beast is too big for us.”

The Picture Frame


I sit here all day waiting for people to look at me. They lean in and quizzically examine the picture inside and then the man says to the woman:

“Oh, that’s…”

“I can’t believe,” the woman says.

With furrowed eyebrows they lean in further as if it’s a car accident they can’t take their eyes off of. With their mouths slightly open they rub their chin and squint.

“The lines are very exquisite.”

“It is definitely a conversational piece.”

The gallery owner smiles proudly and waves her hand over my thin frame. “It’s the newest of the collection. He was the quintessential artist of his time.”

“Yes, of course – I can certainly see that.” The woman says while she carefully takes off her glasses. Not knowing what to add, she makes a humming sound from deep inside her throat. “I’m just not so sure I want it in my living room.” I know the rejection is coming.

“I can certainly have another frame put in, if it’s not to your liking.” The gallery owner stares at me and I feel a shiver spread through my back.

“Well, it’s just that it’s very…” the woman’s eyes shift from the picture to the wall. “Dark.”

They stare straight through me, without even looking.

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The Camera


Photo by Alex Krook

When I was younger I would ask my mother ‘When will the next roll of film be developed?’

Eagerly I awaited the day when I could see all the things I had observed through an under developed eye. I would go to parties where everyone was sure to look their best. Not knowing what to say, I would watch instead. I focused on the pretty girls with their long hair and short shirts dancing in the middle of the room. I focused on the punch that was bloody red with lumps of fruit carcasses. I focused on the low lighting and the red tint that japanese string lanterns would throw from a party still flowing in a Chinatown apartment.  After focusing for so long, I would feel the snap of my shutter rustle through my front. The image flashed before my eyes, and I knew I would have a perfect moment saved.

The older I got, the more moments I would collect. A handsome groom was caught staring at a bridesmaid a second too long.  A family cat was stuck in between the legs of a wooden chair.  A pigeon sat anxiously inside a coop on top of a 15 story building.  Caught between a flash and a sound, I can still see the faces of two friends laughing as spoons balanced on their noses.

My mother looked at me and shook her head, ‘You have to live in the moment,’ she said.  And I did. I just preferred other people’s moments.

The Wine Glasses


Photo by KG

The pinot grigio sits long stemmed in a perfectly plump, but contained wine glass.

The merlot lounges much more luxuriously in the center of the table. His red richness is a mellow kind of extravagance that comes out with a tinge of half narcissism and half artistic creativity.

“I’ve seen this exhibit before. Not here of course,” The merlot says in his deep voice.  “But they’re all the same.”

The pinot grigio looks up from her solitary spot on the table. “I think they’re lovely,” She stares at the appropriate black and white frames that surround photographs of lonely train tracks and empty metal cat dishes.

“Lovely if you like Photography 101. Back when I was in Italy, there were some real artists there.”

“Are you originally from there?” The pinot grigio hopes he doesn’t ask her where she’s from. She knows she has some Australian roots, but how far back they run, she isn’t quite sure.

The merlot doesn’t answer. Instead he says, “I was visiting there just recently when I saw some real art. Giant paintings of the most beautiful colors you could imagine. Colors that aren’t even available in the United States.”

“I’m sure we have the same colors here as they do in Italy.”

“No, no. It wasn’t just the colors that made it, it was the eccentricity of it all. The art opening was only open from three until six in the morning and you had to have a password to get in.”

“And you had it,” the pinot grigio tips her glass back with a peculiar laugh.

“Oh absolutely. I’ve been there several times. I have a hard time sleeping.”

“You’re an all-nighter,” the pinot grigio wonders if it’s past ten yet.

“I’m whatever you want me to be,” he smiled.

Gone. Her wish hangs delicately in the air like the faint sound of a passing exhale. She is completely drained already.

The Mop


Photo by Linda Daunter

I’ve been pushed around all my life, but it’s never bothered me. The hands that touch my surface can only strengthen my core. I’ve watched other mops come and go in the business and they all have the same disposition. They complain, they whine and eventually they snap.

The first time I met Sally, she seemed like a rag doll right from the start. She had blond stringy hair and a natural knack for playing the victim. She used to tell me about the all nighters at the University of Virginia cafeteria. She would push her soppy sad story along the linoleum floor with a vengeance that served no one. Did the janitor care? No. Did the students care? No. Did I care? No.

I said to her: You are nobody’s toy.

I prefer not to think of myself as a mere object, but instead as a tool to make life more beautiful and manageable for the people around me. Am I used? Perhaps. Am I useful? Absolutely.

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The Clock

This is a time piece that was published in The Siren.

Time had the face of an autistic sentiment that knew no difference from measurement and reason. He spoke in between the silent tic toc of a question mark. What are you doing? How are you making the most of your life? From place to place he would stay the same. Stoic to a point and sturdy to a surface, he remained hung from a place of authority. When minutes became hours and days became weeks, his face grew no shorter from the pleasure that he reaped. When time finally ended, there was no alarm. His breaths were fatal in stagnation.

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The Train

The gears are electric surprises. Sparking off at the thought of speed, they race to a faster pace. Spokes spin in a twisted tangent and I feel the growth of something metal inside. It’s cold and plastered, but it moves all the same. Forward pushing, I pull on. Past the green yards of farmers future browns and the gray smog of the city, crystalized. I’m careful not to be seen too much when I roll on shaky ground. 



Photo by Lora Mosier

The Lock

“Just one date. I’ll take you out anywhere you want to go.” The key persisted.


“But you don’t even know me. You might have the best time of your life.”

“You’re not the right size,” the lock answered bluntly.

“Size doesn’t matter, baby.” The key was bordering on begging and nothing bothered her more than weakness. Instead of molding to the right situation if it should arise, this key was obnoxious. He was a whiner. He was never going to get anywhere.

Besides his constant pushiness, he was definitely too small for her. He was all talk and no action right from the start. How would he even be able to preform?  Instead she would sit closed minded for the entire night while he eyed her steely reserve. She could imagine it now: Him, trying to soften her up with a drink and she, slowly blurring the lines between hope and reality. She would never open up.

“No,” she shook her head.

“We can go out for dinner. Or a drink somewhere. Your choice – you choose. Anywhere you want to go.”

“I’m going to stay here.” She said.


“Because,” she said, suddenly remembering a key phrase. “I’m attached.”


Photo by Ailleana

The 4 keys to remember

1.) Stay clean.  A little oil is not such a bad thing, but when you start to feel like a grease ball, you know it’s time to clean up your act. Those sentences that fly out of you in anger are to be kept to a bare minimum. Swear words are not pretty and dirt is for the ground, not the computer.

2.) Don’t stick. As clingy as you are to the person who spends the most time with you, recognize they are not the only one. There are many people out there and clinging to them only makes you seem needy and out of touch.

3.) Let people press your buttons. There is nothing you can not overcome. Getting used to the provocative and sometimes unnecessary will only make you stronger.

4.) Stand tall. If you slouch, you will remain the underdog being forever pounded upon by others.