Monthly Archives: May 2015

“Loretta’s Poetry Career”: Flash Fiction from DIFFICULT PEOPLE (watch your step, you never know)

Loretta’s Poetry Career

 (remember, nobody gets out alive…)

          Loretta stepped off the curb. Downtown traffic. Backwards. Not looking. She was killed immediately. The delivery truck trying to make the turn before the red-yellow still, meaning –“go” in Boston—she was gone. That quickly, poor thing. Literally, never knew what hit her. Top of her poetic prose publishing arc. Latest book a cultural breakwater—Raisins in the Looking Glass.  To those friends and admirers, a dozen or so devotees there on the corner of Crown and Sheffield…well, consensus was Loretta’s smile, triumphant after this final city reading…this backward step into eternity was as elegant a departure as typical as her sudden leaps of transcendence in her poems, stories and essays….she had reached her full powers and like a meteor arced the zenith with her glorious flame of truth and joy. As one friend from college days put it…she had no more to say on the downward slope. Her life arrowed up into infinity, going ahead, leading us always into unmapped terrain. The blow to her head knocked her soul clean free…The body surprisingly unmarked, no visible sign of trauma, stepping off into the Void, as a critic put it in Poetry Now, she achieved monistic unity with the unseen she had learned to gift us mortals ordinary, gravity bound. She was now in retrospect a kind of astral messenger, barely of this world by the end of her artistic journey.

“I tell you…” she said in her last interview, “There is progress. We do learn and truth and beauty and freedom are ours. Poetry has taught me joy because of its essential transcendence of the world of linear tedium and chronic pain. Poetry has set me free from fear.”

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TROY: Flash fiction from DIFFICULT PEOPLE


          Achilles kept saying he was sorry about the Greeks at Troy, you know, the anger and wrath thing and the death of Patroclus–that’s a damned shame he maintained…but it’s really not me. It’s just my friggin’ name!

This confusion over names was frustrating and that’s when he changed his name to Archie, but then people asked him about Archie in the comics and some stupid mutt he went around with.

So, he changed his name to Aaron…and then folks started asking him was he Jewish, or maybe wanted to scoot up the alphabet a bit further…but he pointed out they were taking Aaron as a last name, when his last name was really Petroni–and somebody noted a Jewish Italian name seemed odd, Aaron Petroni, kinda Mediterranean schizo…

So he yelled at people…and the pop name was Achilles Schizo for a few weeks until he picked Carling Black Label at a Friday nite beer bust, and shortened it to Carl Black–

–and went to bed in a drunken stupor in a back bedroom down at the Cape and awoke in the sweaty arms of a blonde from Providence, Rhode Island, who said her name was Helen of Troy and was he her Hector or maybe that sleazy cute Paris and he said no he was Achilles and showed her his Trojan horse and stormed the streets of Troy and took Helen totally, like totally by surprise…

#fiction DIFFICULT PEOPLE 172 EROTIC flash fictions, Zen tales revealing destiny-imbued moments. Adult readers only.

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Squeeky-Matisse, painting to a loving playful cat, by Laurie Steinmeyer (acrylic)

For out dear loving cat as playful as Matisse.

For out dear loving cat as playful as Matisse.

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“Once in a Blue Moon”, (acrylic) Laurie Steinmeyer (abstract expressionist/ colorist)


Once in A Blue Moon

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“Two Wild and Crazy Friends,” (Acrylic Painting), Laurie Steinmeyer, Abstract Expressionist

Laurie Steinmeyer Abstract Expressionist

Laurie Steinmeyer
Abstract Expressionist

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A few quotes from an early Hippie and “difficult person”: Henry Miller, Tropic of Cancer

Quotes from Miller’s famous banned, radical break-out book in his ex-pat down-and-out years in 1930s Paris as the Depression and the World War 2 loomed over an angry Europe and the world; for quite some time Miller was absolutely broke and actually starving in Paris; he finally discovered a clever way of surviving by making a dinner date with employed friends for one day a week on a regular basis. Eventually he found writing and editing jobs to carry him through this extreme, marginal bohemian period.

—“This is not a book in the ordinary sense of the word. No, this is a prolonged insult, a gob of spit in the face of art, a kick in the pants to God, Man, Destiny, Time, Love, Beauty… what you will. ”

—“I need to be alone. I need to ponder my shame and my despair in seclusion; I need the sunshine and the paving stones of the streets without companions, without conversation, face to face with myself, with only the music of my heart for company.”

—“Everybody says sex is obscene. The only true obscenity is war.”

—“And for that one moment of freedom you have to listen to all that love crap… it drive me nuts sometimes… I want to kick them out immediately… I do now and then. But that doesn’t keep them away. They like it, in fact. The less you notice them the more they chase after you. There’s something perverse about women… they’re all masochists at heart.”

—“I have found God, but he is insufficient.”

—“Do anything, but let it produce joy. Do anything, but let it yield ecstasy.”

—“I’ve lived out my melancholy youth. I don’t give a fuck anymore what’s behind me, or what’s ahead of me. I’m healthy. Incurably healthy. No sorrows, no regrets. No past, no future. The present is enough for me. Day by day. Today!”

—“I’m a bit retarded, like most Americans.”

—“I made up my mind that I would hold onto nothing, that I would expect nothing.”

—“An artist is always alone – if he is an artist. No, what the artist needs is loneliness.”

—“Paris is like a whore. From a distance she seems ravishing, you can’t wait until you have her in your arms. And five minutes later you feel empty, disgusted with yourself. You feel tricked.”

—“Side by side with the human race there runs another race of beings, the inhuman ones, the race of artists who, goaded by unknown impulses, take the lifeless mass of humanity and by the fever and ferment with which they imbue it turn this soggy dough into bread and the bread into wine and the wine into song.”

Tropic of Cancer, available on Amazon at link below:

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“Errands”: Flash Fiction from DIFFICULT PEOPLE (for busy list makers out there)


It was all worth it. The doing of so much. You hit the floor running and ahead of you lay an infinite list. Of course, you don’t tighten up and die over that. Hell no! You pick two or three gotta-get-dones and you work ‘em for the day. I’m the oldest. I like getting shit done. At the end of the day, I put these big red checks on my to-do list. I take a deep breath and thank my stars for letting me be so damned productive. Imagine the pride you have getting a package in the mail. All the steps…need I elaborate…down to the interaction with the postal clerk’s forced smile. Or the sense you’re slipping through time at the traffic stop and the woman pushing the baby carriage is now fifty feet further down the block and the space-time she consumed in her own life has happened in a blink as your mind turned inward to some other item on the list, like which credit card to use at the appliance store, what route was most efficient and where to park to minimize. You know the routine…and your mind comes back to the traffic light…waiting for the “walk” yellow flashing light to end and you wonder if the order of all this is a kind of tyranny of interlocked forms…and we only see a few frames out of the infinite choices…and you realize, still waiting with the giant SUV breathing on your rear bumper…a tiny woman’s new shoe slipping off the brake pedal…you think this could all be an absurd busy-ness, necessary but finally empty of value…metaphysically…and thank the cosmos the light turns green, and you get to lurch into the intersection driven and flawed by all these quotidian desires!

P.S. (note: It’s Memorial Day: the Post office is closed! Sit still, stay off the roads! RELAX!)

#fiction DIFFICULT PEOPLE 172 EROTIC flash fictions, Zen tales revealing destiny-imbued moments. Adult readers only.

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“Invocation to the Dawn”: Flash fiction selection from DIFFICULT PEOPLE

Invocation to the Dawn

Round about four in the morning, having emerged from the terra incognita of our shared physical mysteries, we stepped from our rented boudoir onto the deck, and wrapped in our blanket against the chill of the sea, watched the sun rise over the pewter green Atlantic lightly embossed with white caps and the glint of diving light off gulls caught in the fresh new day, and we smiled and laughed at this moment, our souls tingling with the hope of love, eternal life forever after and the vast generosity of nature, as sky earth and sea, and the affection of the dazzling elements in the champagne of earth’s summer vintage, a celebration of life, love, death and rebirth, and the miracle of our time together on an island, on a cliff, on a stage suspended in time and hope…

Our lips were one with the morning light, yellow gold fingers brushing over the headland, stroking the huddled pointed firs, their laced boughs swaying in the offshore breeze, the sparkling skein cast across the incoming tide, rising to the full, emptying with an eternal gasp into the narrow cove…

#fiction DIFFICULT PEOPLE 172 EROTIC flash fictions, Zen tales revealing destiny-imbued moments. Adult readers only.

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“Brass Beds”: selection from flash fiction adult storybook “Difficult People”

                                                                   Brass Beds

She had come to his plantation-shuttered door in the apartment building and knocked. He saw her bare legs and feet first. Green toe polish. Pretty muscled legs. Tanned. He flipped the latch and pushed open the door.

“Hey,” she said, smiling, looking sleepy about the eyes. She was wearing cutoff jeans and a tee shirt with a big slice of red watermelon on her chest, “Juicy and Sweet” it read. “I was just wondering what you know about brass beds?” she said and her tongue rested on her beautifully plump lower lip.

“Nothing but what Bob Dylan said in his song…lay Lady lay…” he said and smiled.

She blushed, and then managed a nervous laugh.

“Listen, wanna glass of iced tea?” he said. “We can sit in the living room and talk about it.”

She chewed her lip. “Well…” she said, folding her toes on one foot against the welcome mat. She had beautiful blue eyes and a full moon face, dimples in her cheeks, a little nose, and a mane of thick blonde hair and best of all a little scar, an extra dimple in her meditation third eye. “Well…I guess so…” she decided.

And he swung the door wide for her and felt her body heat sweep past him, a hint of jungle orchid perfume. And brass bed or no…they went deep into bed talk that long, lazy summer afternoon and no one the wiser.

#fiction DIFFICULT PEOPLE 172 EROTIC flash fictions, Zen tales revealing destiny-imbued moments. Adult readers only.

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Wedding Cake House: Flash Fiction Pick From “Difficult People”

Wedding Cake House


It all began rather innocently and generously, but the outcome, Bob Harper would easily agree was quite the reverse. You see, Bob and his wife Gail Harper (nee’ Doubling)…had before they knew it, the glorious burden of a rambling Victorian, actually a picturesque Queen Anne, with lots of rooms, porches, stairwells and obscure passages in what they liked to call their “wedding cake house.”

“It’s way too big for us,” Gail complained but as if overheard…friends and relatives seemed to appear like some force of nature to fill the nostalgic spaces with a maddening fury.

Gail found herself all too frequently trapped and overwhelmed in the kitchen, and there she was preparing an immense beef stew dinner; meanwhile Bob had several artists and writers in retreat in a beautiful turret room on the second floor; and they were discussing the horrors of the business of hawking new books and canvases.

On the wide porch a nephew of Gail’s, one Kramer Spitz was weeping post graduate separation tears over an amore lost…while the children of these variously married adults screamed bloody murder tearing about the fascinating spaces of this old wooden castle: those wonderful narrow stairs to the third floor…the dumb waiter plunging up and down, herky jerky…and the echoic shouting down the laundry chute to the basement. Kramer was sobbing on the porch, and Gail saw her neighbor Kim kiss her husband goodbye and then saw seconds later, Bob’s artist pal Carlos sneak through the hedge and enter her house from the rear, so to speak.

With this plotline in barged her father and mother, both higher than kites, dragging along Aunt Kate and Uncle Douglas, heavy drinkers, loud, occasionally obscene as sailors on leave…

“How the hell are ya, Gail,” Uncle Douglas cries and grabs her round the waist, one hand brushing her breast (always the tit man, her aunt declared one drunken night)–

–and just then the kids burst down and up from everywhere and exploded like confetti in the big kitchen…and Gail seeing purple dancing spots slung the meat platter, a white bone heirloom, across the room like a giant ghostly prehistoric Frisbee…and the beef, sizeable given the demands of company on hand, skipped then rolled into the corner by the push pedal trash can–filthy–while the great heirloom continued its horrifying trajectory past Aunt Kate’s bristly hair and smashed solidly through the pantry glass doors and shattered glass followed the hallowed hoary plate to the floor and thence in a fantastic display of three dimensional chaos theory invaded the space beneath the kitchen table.

The crash and subsequent Munch-like, blood-curdling scream from Gail brought the entire tribe to absolute silence to the kitchen…

Gail was succored, patted, cooed to and hustled into a kitchen chair.

“Let’s eat out,” Bob said to kith and kin alike. “How ’bout Chinese?”

There was a shout of joy! And off they went, tumbling into three different cars, vans and SUVs, and Gail still sobbing between retellings, and laughing hysterically…

Gail finally laughed in a human-like manner; she had Uncle Douglas pick up Carlos, now distracted from the house next door by the bedlam spinning in the driveway…and off they went.

Later, after a big meal the cavalcade stopped at the city’s central park…and the kids and then adults waded in the giant duck pool and Uncle Douglas fell down and got soaked, Kramer the lovelorn was comforted, confessing his deep loss (mostly lust he later admitted), and then somebody screamed “water snake!” which cleared the pool and brought them home again to the wedding cake Queen Anne…which later that night Gail told Bob they must sell without delay or she’d have to leave him…and he stared at her like she’d lost her mind and said softly, “Okay, hon.”

Then Gail smiled and said with a feverish glint to her green eyes, “Over my dead body.”

#fiction DIFFICULT PEOPLE 172 EROTIC flash fictions, Zen tales revealing destiny-imbued moments. Adult readers only.

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