Category Archives: Storytime

“Homicide Unit”

I have no idea what this is supposed to be, but–since I wrote it–I have decided to post it;) [An oddity in “English” terza rima–by Paul Burgess]

“He passed away before the crimes occurred.”
“To be deceased is not an alibi.”
“You know, your theory is beyond absurd.”

“You think a man above created life.
Why can’t it be destroyed by one below?
What else explains the prints, the bloody knife…”

“Enough! When has a corpse been known to kill?
Allow the dead to rest in peace.
To murder’s never been a corpse’s skill.”

A 3-D Scene at the Park

In Response to the following prompt: http://dailypost.wordpress.com/dp_assignment/writing-101-day-nine/

a 3-part poem in blank verse

“Joe”
He hated letting Alma see him cry
But knew the tears would flow against his will.
Remaining silent, Alma squeezed his hand—
A gesture barely noticed by the man.
The aging woman knitting on the bench,
Who had reminded him of Mother, turned
Revealing features not a bit like Mom’s.
Then, suddenly, it dawned on him.
…The sweater, small and red, his mother had begun
To knit for John—the child in Alma’s womb!

“Alma”
She always felt uneasy when he cried.
It seemed attempts to comfort often failed.
Making matters worse, she didn’t know
Why Joe was crying when he had been fine.
Unsure of what to do, she squeezed his hand.

“Perhaps he misses his mother,” Alma thought,
On seeing the old lady on the bench
With yarn and knitting needles in her lap.

“Old Lady Knitting on the Bench”
“I knew I shoulda stayed at home to knit
And watch my stories ‘stead of comin’ here…
I got some cryin’ sissy-baby-man
A lookin’ like I’m sweet old Granny Smith
Who used to bake him pie and knit him scarves.
A granny? Please! I learned me long ago
That kids would send me early to my grave.
No siree…knittin nothin’ ‘cept for Chip
Who’d never send me to no nursin’ home.
He never sasses me, jus’ wags his tail.
Now, Sissy, carry’in on like a brat—
If kin to me, I’d go upside his head
To cure him of his cryin’, starin’ ways.”

“Tooth Fairy: a Tale of Crime”

Flash fiction in the form of a sonnet—by Paul Burgess

He asked, “You got the stuff?” I told him, “Yes,”
And wondered whether doing this was right.
“My friend, I expected nothing less,”
He said with eyes I had never seen so bright.

Examining the tooth I had procured,
He held it gently in a flattened palm—
Oblivious to the stress I had endured.
I hated seeing him remain so calm.

“When night arrives it’s time to start the fun,”
He whispered and reviewed again our plan:
“As she removes the pillow, draw the gun,
And growl as coldly as you can:
‘You need to kneel and afterwards to freeze.’
I’ll take her money once she’s on her knees.”

“Cyclops”

“Cyclops (Blinded by Odysseus)”
[A monologue in blank verse by Paul Burgess]

[painting: Polyphemus, Johan Heinrich Wilhelm Tischbein]

…More like a twig or crunchy bread than bone—

Reducing them to mush, I didn’t strain

My jaws on brittle bones as slight as theirs.

One man provided meat too scarce to hush

The growling beast inside my angry gut.

Who would expect the hero Ulysses—

Of prophecies divining tragedy—

To be the head of men a mouthful’s size?

Though blind, there’s something that I clearly see:

The cause of drastic effects might be small.

[A second attempt to explore the scene also examined in this poem:

https://paulwhitberg.wordpress.com/2014/05/29/the-blinding-of-the-cyclops-polyphemus/

At some point, I will likely try again to bring out the possible layers of interpretation contained in this classic scene from Homer.

“Ann the Famous and John the Unknown”

imageBelow is a poetic recap of this epic tale of heroism and obscurity:
Ann the Famous, John the boy unknown—
The girl’s a perfect hero on a throne.
While John of ants and gravity has died,
The fame of Ann is trav’ling far and wide.

Paul Burgess

[The child’s handwritten story was first shared by storytimewithjohn.com:  http://storytimewithjohn.com/2014/05/31/ann-the-famous-and-john-the-unknown-part-ii/

I never expected to write anything inspired by a preteen in Korea…

“Life-changing Turnarounds”

(or “Dennis, Lana, and Anna”) by Paul Burgess

“Before he turned his life around,
DenniS always cursed and SinneD,
And, until LanA’s turnaround,
She was an AnaL bag of wind.”

…But, AnnA found the story foul
And said its moral was deranged.
It seemed a message quite unfair,
Implying she had never changed.

Ann the Famous and John the Unknown (Part II)

For reasons I can’t explain, this delightfully odd piece [from  http://storytimewithjohn.com ] made me laugh quite a bit:

Storytime with John

image

I am well past the point of attempting to understand these ramblings. 

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“Portrait of a Mass Murderer”

A narrative exploration of a Western epidemic. [A rhyming sestina in iambic pentameter–by Paul Burgess]

I.
Of boredom Janie feared she soon would die.
She needed something dangerous to try.
She’d taken all the pills a girl could take
While making all the love a girl could make
And now desired another high to give
Her faith that it was best for her to live.

II.
Internal voices said, “Who wants to live
When life’s no more than efforts not to die?”
Beliefs and doctrines never seemed to give
The high she sought, no matter what she’d try.
Relationships and friends she tried to make,
It seemed, would rarely give but often take.

III.
“Perhaps the time has come for me to take.
“Might ‘taking’ best define the phrase ‘to live’?”
Preparing for the move she planned to make,
She grabbed then shook and rolled a plastic die.
“Though six is high for my beginning try,
I said I’d take the choice the die would give.”

IV.
“Is there a charity you’d like to give…”
She cut the cashier off and said she’d take
A sack of fifties and then, “Don’t you try
To play the hero, Gramps. In films they live,
But, off the screen, they often tend to die.”
Then Janie thought about the news she’d make.

V.
Responding to the gruesome threats she’d make,
A shopper cried, “There’s nothing I won’t give,
But please, this isn’t how I want to die.
I have a yacht and car I’ll let you take
If only you’ll allow me now to live.”
Her only words were, “It’s no use to try.”

VI.
A theft was not what she was there to try.
It mattered little how much cash she’d make.
While six would die, the others she’d let live.
She said she’d take the choice the die would give.
With ev’ry person’s precious life she’d take,
A part of her humanity would die.

VII.
She’d murdered people just to watch them die
Because she’d wanted something new to try.
She’d thought it might be easier to take,
More fun destroying what she couldn’t make,
Than it had ever been for her to give.
She’d thought by killing others that she’d live.

“Going Viral” a short story by Paul Burgess

My first shot at writing prose fiction! [In response to prompts found here:  http://boundariesandedges.wordpress.com/2014/05/26/try-this-the-alphabet-exercise/

http://mbarkersimpson.wordpress.com/2014/05/26/try-this-the-alphabet-exercise/

“Going Viral” A Short Story by Paul Burgess
After a few months, he would laugh nervously about that day’s events.
But, when people mentioned the incident, he continued to feel a mixture of shame and anger.
Could they stop bringing it up?”
Did they have to videotape it?”
Events like this used to entertain him when he saw them on the internet.
Facebook and YouTube, however, had now become his enemies.

Going back to school terrified him.
How would he endure the merciless teasing of classmates who’d had an entire summer to hone their jokes about him?
If only his family would not have posted the video all over the internet…
Just thinking about his parents made him alternate between gritting his teeth and clutching his stomach.
Killing them might be justifiable,” said a half-serious voice no one else heard.
Let go of that thought,” a wiser voice advised.

Monkeys continued to haunt his dreams.
No night seemed to pass without those hairy hands caressing his cheeks.
Orangutans watched with gazes expressing amused approval.
Primates, why do you torment me?”
Quinton often woke to find himself panting while repeating that phrase.

Rape” would be too strong a word to describe what he’d endured…
To get a good picture, Quinton held his phone with one hand that he pushed between the cage’s bars.
Using his phone’s high-resolution camera, he captured dozens of excellent photos.
Vern, are you filming this?” his mom asked his dad.
What happened next, when Quinton tried to pull his arm back through the bars, gave him the shock of his young life.
Xavier, the monkey, grabbed his arm, pulled him close, stared deeply into his eyes, and then—before releasing him—kissed his lips for what seemed like ages.
YouTube will love this!” exclaimed his dad.
Zoo Trip, featuring Quinton Craig” went viral.