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Monday, September 30, 2013

Can you tweet?

Written in response to http://writing.gather.com/viewArticle.action?articleId=281474981957642 but only half the required length (250 words instead of 500) 'cause I used the other half trying to log onto Gather.

Shortly after we moved to the States, someone asked if I used alcohol. Wondering briefly why they cared about my cleaning products I answered, “I’m not sure what’s in this brand.” But I do drink wine and my questioner took offense at my misunderstanding.
Using Twitter may be a similarly incomprehensible source of unutterable confusion. I search for hashtags (#5minutes, for example, when advertising 5-minute stories, or #’random-string-of-letters’ when supporting a random-string-named tweet group). I hover my mouse over a resulting miniscule splurge of pre-shrunken information, then click on the little blue “retweet” that appears. It’s almost magic, but I’m still not sure if it’s “using,” “abusing,” or merely failing to use the song of the birds.
Hashtags let people search for something—like #5minutes—and get a filtered list of random results. If you want your message to go to someone you don’t know, they’re worth a try. Retweets mean the message gets sent out again, so more people searching might find it, maybe, if the haystack’s aligned with the right side of twitterdom. And tweet groups mean a group of friends, or e-friends, agree to retweet each other’s messages, thus expanding the amount of e-verbiage in the e-universe.
My Mum once asked what I was doing on Twitter, and why the text on the page made nothing vaguely resembling sense. “Oh, I’m just tweeting,” said I.
“Birds tweet.”
“I’m using Twitter.”
“Little old ladies twitter.”
“I’m marketing.”
She wasn’t convinced, so we both “used” another glass of wine.

Saturday, September 28, 2013


The wind howls but it has no strength and cannot tumble me.
The wind howls and it might be wolves. They will not come for me.
The wind howls and the branches bend but they will not break or fall.
The wind howls and the ages send their answer. Hear their call.
The future howls, and past unseated all.

Friday, September 27, 2013

The Tail of a Chess Player

When the chess board’s gray on gray
And the pieces fade away
And the sky is night and the night is day
And the kids are refusing to play,
Numbers turn into words;
Queen to d 4 is heard
And the gasp--what occurred?--
Sweetly furred, ‘twas the cat
For she’s gray as the stormcloud
And faster than mouse
At chess-pass. Then the child
Sets the board up with smiles
And says, “Hold her Mom now
While we play.”

Monday, September 23, 2013

The Fathers

I’ve set the time. Just bring one thing back, just one iota of proof. That’s all I need.
I’ve set the place, just needs a little refinement.
I’ve set the carrier wave to bring me home.
I open the box.
“Mom, where’s Daddy gone?” says Sam. Didn’t it work?
“I don’t know. That’s strange.” Can’t they see?
“I’m here,” I try to shout with my silent voice, plastic face all frozen and still. I’m here beside the manger with ragged robes and a box in my hand—a cross between a shepherd and a king. And there’s no going back.

Sunday, September 22, 2013

The Mother

Peter’s so possessive about his stuff. He’s got this box he brought home from work and no-one’s allowed to touch it. But Sam hid it in his pocket before church. He’s pulling off the ribbons now, face so intent. I lean over his shoulder—just to peak. It’s empty.
Church is going overboard on incense these days. It stinks. Then I hear an animal noise, see a camel, and look up into the face of a king. What’s going on here?
Choir’s still singing. I hear Peter’s voice, “I thought I told you…” and I’m beside him in church again.

Saturday, September 21, 2013

The Child

Daddy said “Don’t open the box,” but it’s Christmas. Who doesn’t open stuff at Christmas-time? When Dad’s not looking I pull on the ribbon and climb inside my spaceship, rattling, shaking its way to the stars. But I don’t know why it lands me on a freezing cold hillside.
Sheep bleat miserably and Christmas tree fairies sing carols out of tune. A boy tugs my arm, shouting, “Hurry! Come and see.”
Then my Dad takes the box away from me. “I thought I told you…” I open my eyes to Sunday’s choir and church. But how?
What’s in the box?