Dating Life: A Poem

You want me to perform on stage

For you alone

An actress reciting lines written long ago

When you first imagined nubile girls

And felt stirrings sensual and strange

 

You ask for a curtain call

But the first act has not yet begun

Or even been rehearsed

 

I am outside this theater looking up

At its neon lights.

Wondering whether to step inside

 

Or run from their harsh glare

To the soft twinkling

Of country summer.

 

You want my ecstatic dance

To rise like a crescendo before your eyes

My limbs twisting and convulsing in

Tribal rhythms

 

But the music has yet to play

And I am wrapped in the silence.

 

You want an aria, a magnum opus

A soprano hitting notes so high

As to shatter hearts.

 

But I am just a woman.

And can’t even sing on key.

 

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My Friday the 13th Story, What’s Yours?

Long ago, when I was too young to have the life’s experiences I do now, I thought of Friday the 13th as just another day.

I was so naive.

Friday the 13th is a  harbinger for the supernatural. A day when the doorways between death and life swing perilously.

I was a young mother raising two kids the best I could. It was a Saturday and I had promised to take them to see The Incredibles matinee.  But as usual, I tried to do too much and was running late. I strapped both of them into their seats, revved up the old Volvo, and stepped on the gas.

We were halfway down the long drive when, boom. Thud.

I slammed on the brakes.

“What was that, Mommy?” Jess asked.

Heart pounding, I got out of the car and looked under. There lay our black cat, Cuzie, matted fur around her sweet head.

I started to tear up.

“Do something,” Nick, who had jumped out of the car, ordered, a desperate plea in his voice.

Gently I scooped up the gentlest cat we’d ever had, placed her in Jess’s lap and started racing for the local vet. Both kids crooned to Cuzie telling her it would be okay in one breath, chastising my stupid driving with the next.

With shaking hands I carried her into the office calling, “I hit my cat! She’s hurt. Help me.”

The receptionist immediately ushered us into an exam room and within seconds the vet was there. He placed Cuzie on the table, and began to probe gently with his fingers. The kids and I stood by, stiff  bodied, barely breathing.

After about five minutes he declared that Cuzie was fine, but should have quiet place to rest. “And keep an eye out. If you notice any change, call me,” he said caressing Cuzie’s ears.

Back home we placed her bed in a little nook near the back door, gave her water and a soft blanket, and stroked her back.

She mewed and snuggled down to go to sleep.

It was still early so we headed to the theater. Even got there on time.

To this day, my question remains. Was Friday the 13th bad luck for us because we hit Cuzie? Or did a black cat crossing our path on that fateful day counteract bad fortune, saving her life.

You decide.

But tell me, what mysterious things have happened to you on Friday the 13th?

 

 

 

News

Hello, Friends!
These last few months have been so amazing, I keep having to pinch myself just
to make sure I’m not dreaming. First, ever since its launch on August 8th, The
Pharaohs’ Cry has stayed in the top ten for art books on Amazon for seven
weeks straight. Thank you to my publisher, Creativia for their wonderful
marketing. Artania II is now with the editor and should be released around
Christmas. In this book Mona Lisa has been kidnapped by Renaissance pirates
and its up to my two young heroes, along with their new sidekick, Gwen, to
rescue her.
In September, my short story about an anthropologist alien was published in
Coastal Dunes: A CWC Anthology. It was fun channeling an alien who tries to
keep her cool while pounding music begs her feet to dance. Tee hee!
In addition to starting the school year with a new crop of 5th graders, coaching
Student Council and Battle of the Books, and trying to navigate a new language
arts adoption, I’ve been working on a couple of new projects. I’m about five
chapters into Artania IV which will take place during the French Impressionist
period, drafted some paranormal short stories, and continued to work on a
coming of age novel. Lots of research into the Impressionist period, rock and roll
of the 1970’s, and influencers of both times. If any of you have special insight to
add to my files, please send it on.
This is an amazing time for me. Thank you all for your continued support. And
may your art be true

Love Will Find a Way

For anyone feeling the weight of the world, watch.

https://www.facebook.com/plugins/video.php?href=https%3A%2F%2Fwww.facebook.com%2Fmichaelfranti%2Fvideos%2F10154762461701360%2F&show_text=0&width=560“>Michael Franti & an amazing 9-year-old

When my daughter and I went to the Whale Rock Music Festival last weekend there were so many wonderful performances. But when I saw this 9-year-old girl join Michael Franti and Spearhead on stage, it lifted my heart in ways this writer has no words for.

A beautiful day dancing in the sun with my baby girl. Then, as it set, Spearhead filled the skies with  moon beams of joy.

jessmomLove always finds a way.

Egyptian Gods

“Social Studies is boring,” your sixth grader says. “Just stupid facts and dates.”

“Really?” you ask with a playful twinkle in your eye while clicking on the following YouTube video. “I guess you’ve never heard any myths from ancient Egypt.”

Video about the Egyptian gods

Exchanges like the above are one of the reasons I wrote, Artania: The Pharaohs’ Cry. When I taught 6th grade I found very few tie-in novels that brought both the history and mythology of ancient Egypt alive. Yet, their myths were so cool. Battles, revenge, love, sacrifice. All fodder for a roller-coaster ride into an imagined past.

Now your child can learn about the gods and history of Egypt without ever saying boring. Instead they’ll ride on skateboards with Bastet and Horus, journey through the pyramids with Osiris, and grin at Anubis shaking his tail. What are you waiting for? Magic is about to begin.

Buy ArtaniaArtania_NewCover__003.RIF

Dark Crusade: A Divorce Poem

Long ago there was a little girl

Who had two fathers.

One was present

The other absent.

 

As she grew

She wished they could trade places.

And one day they did

But they received identical index fingers

In the exchange.

Two imputable Musketeer swords

Pointed and crossed,

Secret signals

Bidding charges at the mother:

We denounce her as Vilifier.

Our recompense will be her blood.

 

And so it was

That in their recriminatory cries

An ignoble cause was born.

And they thrust their blades silently

In glorious abandonment.

 

 

But in all their dark crusades

In lands both far and near

Seeking reprisal for deeds

Both true

And imagined

They never knew that

The mother stood strong

In her adult armor

While the child

Lay bleeding

In a heap on the floor.

 

My Short Story Got Published!

Here’s the beginning:

I always sit alone. Night after night while friendly conversation buzzes all around, I scribble away at my pad. Like the severed lobe of a lobotomized brain my quietness keeps me apart from the surrounding barroom.

Not that they don’t try. Their electrical impulses probe with questions and icebreakers, smiles and shoulder taps. But all I return is a blank stare, as is our way, while many muse over why I don’t respond.

Wheezing Joe wipes foam from his facial hair and breathes into his beer. “Is she deaf?”

“Doesn’t speak English.” Zev replies, wiping down the oak counter with a stained towel.

“No. She is a conceited reporter spying on us.”  Gina never takes her eyes off the door as she stirs her gin blossom. Looking right past her female companion, her mind focuses on one thought; prospective mates. I had yet to comprehend it, but for some reason, I threaten that quest.

I cock my head to one side, calculating the odds that I am creating too much interest amongst the patrons. Seventy-six percent. Much too high.  I must not rouse suspicion. Planning to lower my autonomic response filter, I slip into the bathroom stall and lock the rusty door securely before reaching back to the base of my skull to adjust the invisible touch screen.

Immediately there is an increase in emotion. I jerk upright as a variety of new sensations wash over me.

I pull my long hair back tightly and tie it at the nape of my neck before exiting. My intestines are churning as I step up to the bar. I can barely croak out the words, “One pomegranate martini, please.”

With shaking hands, I grasp the glass stem, trying to find comfort in the dry ice mist rising from the martini. Gina turns away with a half smile when I spill some of the sanguine-colored liquid onto the floor. Her female companion guffaws while Joe takes a gulp of beer to hide his chuckling.

Careful not to spill again, I cross the room to sit back down and gaze into the wine-colored fog. The pomegranate martini reminds me of home, a volcano-covered planet so far from the sun, that the sky never brightens beyond a pinkish hue.  I lower my nose and cool steam moistens my skin like Lyra’s atmosphere at perihelion.

I glance out of the corner of my eye. Lowering the filter has worked. The flies are relaxed. Even Gina’s brain waves have ceased their jagged patterns. I have been accepted as just another quirky bar regular. And in so doing, they give me a name. They dub me the Human Chair, she who sits but never responds. Funny they would call me human. And flattering in a strange sort of way. They never call me this to my face, but I’ve heard them whisper, “She’s the Human Chair,” to every newcomer who asks about the woman scribbling away in the dark corner

Many barflies think they can break through my severed wall of gray matter. A few send drinks. Some try smooth lines to strike up conversations.  I never understood the one that goes, “What is a nice girl like you doing in a place like this?” It seems to imply that The Blue Ace is a disreputable establishment.

A few even tell carnal anecdotes to provoke a response. Wheezing Joe loves to tell about the sexual misadventures of blonde-haired women. I am glad that I have chosen dark hair when I hear how lighter shades affect human I.Q.

Of course, it is all in vain. I ignore them all. The ice cubes melt in untouched glasses. Compliments and witticisms go unacknowledged. No matter how loud or rude they are, my pen never slows.

It cannot.

If it did my superiors would take away this assignment. And I have grown too fond of this human form to shed it just now. These strange sensations that go along with inhabiting a female body. The sweet taste of a pomegranate martini on my tongue. The feel of my pen gripped between these efficient digits. A warm tingling in my loins when that tall male on the subway smiles at me. I often must remind myself that I am an observer not a participant. An anthropologist who is detached from her surroundings.

backsand

This excerpt from my science fiction short story was recently published in Shifting Sands. This  anthology is an eclectic blend of short stories and poetry from the talented members of the Coastal Dunes Branch of the California Writers Club.  For a copy, here’s the link.

Buy the Anthology!