Lucy Sings the Blues

For Celena. Always magical.

There was an old courthouse where I slept
on a bench beneath the apple trees
that lined the great stone paths
to meet our king
who sat highest in the court
the Judge of Judges
reporting on the sins of men
and the adulterous women.

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JOE MESSIAH, 34, sits in the center of the disheveled living area staring at an easel holding a stark white CANVAS. In one hand he holds a PAINTBRUSH; in the other a PALETTE full of stale paint.

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Alphabet Soup

Once upon a time I began using this website called Plinky that gives you daily writing prompts. Longtime readers might even recall some of my Plinky posts; they always had a little lightbulb at the bottom, indicative of the fact I had posted them through Plinky.

In any case, one of the prompts I didn’t find very lengthy, so I never posted it here: The challenge was to write a piece of poetry using only words that began with the letter S. It was a fun exercise. I enjoyed it.

The idea, however, never left me, and I decided someday I would write a slew of new poems, each of them directed by a single letter only. (I suspect X, Z, and Q will be challenging.) I’ve written a few more of these, and now that I’ve got a small number of poems amassed, I figured I’d share them here–and I encourage you to do the same!

Some day I’ll have all twenty-six poems written. Perhaps you’ll beat me there?

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Three Years

I thought of you again tonight
when I wrote another poem
(you made me write
more poems
than anyone else)
(you make me want to write
more poems
than anyone else)
I saw you with an apple
like that day at school
you were beautiful then
(you still are
but now you’re not my friend)
It’s been three years
three long years too many
and I’m still not over you
I have to wonder
if I was ever on you
to get over you
or if
you’ve become the personification
of my idealization
I don’t like that line break
two—now three—lines back
it takes a scenario
—an if—
and turns it into fact.

Excerpted from The Antithesis of Fear

The Canvas

The canvas was blank. Joe Messiah had been at his easel all night long, had barely breathed, hadn’t blinked since midnight, felt his fingers bent like stone vices around his brush and palette. But before him, the canvas was white.

When the morning sun crested the penthouse windows, he inhaled for the first time in hours and, like trying to bend steel with his bare hands, twisted his head toward the windows. Across the splattered once-white tarp, the open tubes of paint scattered about, the unfinished hard wood floor poking up in places, the sky was vermillion and blue.

He imagined a stroke of one hand, three fingers pressed into a color on the other side. A diagonal stripe and a vertical flutter. A curlicue wind, barely visible.

The canvas, however, remained untouched.

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