Gulliver Locke – Chapter One

Gulliver David Locke, more commonly referred to as Gull, lived with his parents at the edge of town.  Urban development spread to the south east and north of him, but to the west…nothing but trees!  Gull may have lived in the town, but his imagination  lived in those trees.

As far back as he could remember, Gull’s parents had warned him that he should stay out of The Woods.  “It’s quite easy to lose your way in all those trees,” they’d say.  “One tree looks pretty much like the next one, and even a little ways in, you could lose your sense of direction and become completely lost.  Besides, it might be haunted!”

For a long time, Gull obeyed his mom and dad, although he so desperately wanted to explore.  Eventually, of course, his desires and his imagination of what it would be like in The Woods overcame his parents’ injunctions, and he decided to explore.

“I doubt that ghosts or goblins exist, and if I just take a few steps in,” he reasoned with himself, “I’ll still be able to see home, and I won’t get lost.  I won’t go so far in that I can’t see the house.”  And so, with the careless confidence of youth, he stepped in among the trees.

His first few times in the forest, he obeyed his own instructions to himself and got home safely enough, but there was a diminishing amount of thrill each time he went in until, at last, he decided, “I’ll just go in a wee bit farther.”  He took another step into the cool green shade of the trees.  Then another, then another.  When he turned around, there was nothing to be seen but trees in all directions.  Pleased with his bravery, he headed back for home…but the trees didn’t end where he thought they should.  The more he looked for his way out of the trees, the more he realized that his parents had been right.

He was completely, and utterly, lost.

Point of View

each one like a needle
jabbing in, jabbing out of our lives

We look at these pains
and we wonder, why
but we see no answer
and eventually, we move on

those times that make us
thankful to be alive

We look at those days
and we wonder, why
why are we fortunate enough to be so blessed
but we accept those blessings, and we move on

Life consists of so much more
than wake-up, eat, work, play, sleep
there are the emotions that run
the gamut of ecstasy to mind-numbing grief
and we…in each day…
only see the immediate. the now.
no context to understand the why of each moment

each moment…just a fragment of a greater whole
and if we could just see the bigger picture…
perhaps we would realize
that those needle-pains are needed
to stitch a greater picture

perhaps if we could see the whole
we’d see a patchwork-quilt…
coming together

to form a thing of beauty.


today is the last Saturday of the month, and that means it’s Open Link Night at dVerse.  Come on over and check out the other offerings…and submit your own if you’d like! (but if you do, make sure you read and comment on a few others too!) (doors open at 3pm EST)

The Invisible Man

You must have walked past me a thousand times.  You’re just like the rest.  You avoid eye contact…act like I don’t exist.

I heard you tell your young son, “hush!” when he asked you, “why doesn’t that man have legs?”  Thank God for children!  They at least acknowledge my existence.  My legs, by the way…I left them behind in Afghanistan.  My legs, and three of my buddies when our jeep hit that IED.  They told me I was the lucky one.  Yeah right.  They got military funerals with all the trimmings.  Hundreds of folk that didn’t even know them talkin’ ’bout how they died as heroes for their country.

Me?  I just became the guy with no legs that nobody looks at, nobody talks to.  Sure, out of guilt, a few folk drop a few coins in my hat, but that’s about it.

You think I like sitting here all day?  You think begging is my chosen profession ’cause I’m to lazy to work?  You try gettin’ a job when you’ve got an image seared into your brain that you can’t get rid of…no matter what…of your buddies getting blown to bits right before your eyes.

I’m a lot more than some homeless dude, sitting at the corner in filthy clothing, but you’ll never know that, ‘cuz you’re too busy ignoring me as you hurry by with your eyes averted.


Based on the “Silent Conversation” prompt for Inspiration Monday

Mushrooms – Blank Verse for dVerse

Over at dVerse, Tony Maude is having us write blank verse.  Blank verse has rhythmic structure, but is unrhymed.  Most of Shakespeare’s plays were written in blank-verse iambic pentameter.

I have also chosen to write in iambic pentameter, and I present to you the culinary history of the mushroom.  I based my poem on a short piece of prose that I wrote a few years ago (you can find the original here).

The following is entirely true…unless it’s not.


It ’twas in ancient times that Zog returned
back to his home when hunting trip was done
a saber-toothed chihuahua was his prize
but fate would give him more to eat that day

For Zigga was his mate from years gone by
and gath’ring herbs and veggies was her chore
she found a plant of colours bright to see
and brought it for her man to take a bite

It turns out that she was the very first
to think this item might be good to eat
for mushrooms up to now had been ignored
but thanks to Zigga that would all now change

Now Zog was filled with curiosity
to try this little treat brought by his mate
and so with thinking not another thought
he popped it in his mouth and promptly died

Now sorrow may have filled up Zigga’s heart
but yet her mushroom hunting days weren’t o’er
for when she saw a different coloured one
she picked it, gave it to a man named Og

Now while this Og was brother to late Zog
his caveman brain was not too very bright
he took a nibble of this little shroom
and saw great visions for the next fortnight

When the hallucinations finally ceased
he couldn’t wait to try that trip again
alas he was the very first to learn
the fatal nature of an overdose

Of course she figured mushrooms equal death
and yet she wasn’t totally convinced
so mushrooms she fed to her friends and foes
the world’s first serious serial murderess!

The legal system had not yet been formed
and so this lady kept her killing spree
Now by and by she learned what most chefs claim:
that certain types of mushroom are quite safe

The moral of my tale I hope is clear:
the mushroom is a thing most foul indeed
for murder, drugs, and most of the world’s ills
can all upon this single plant be blamed.

The Colours of the Day

Dr. Seuss wrote a fabulous book called My Many Colored Days.  This book is rather atypical when compared to Dr. Seuss’s regular style, but I think it’s one of my favourite of his books.  It compares different emotions to different colours and is, I think, a wonderful way of helping children to express how they are feeling.

Abhra’s prompt at dVerse reminded me of this book, and so I wanted to give it a bit of a “shout-out”

I am not Dr.Seuss, so I doubt my poem today will measure up to that master’s works, but, well…you’re stuck with me anyways!  🙂

sometimes my day seems bleak. BLACK!
starting with fixing
the mistakes of others
while more and more items
pile up on me,
clamoring for my attention
forcing me to
silently scream in purple
while a wave of dark-blue emotion
stifles my urge
to be productive.
I long for the light-blue
of open sky
as I flee from
the bruise-shaded hues
of a miserable day
and embrace
the vivid orange
that is the colour
of LIFE!

(If you know me well enough, you’ll know that for the last couple of decades, I’ve been fond of saying that “Life is Orange!” I’m not sure why life is orange…it just is!)  🙂

Alticane – A Sonnet for Friday Fictioneers

Copyright-John Nixon

image: Copyright-John Nixon


I stand stock still among the crooked trees
and wonder why they don’t grow straight and true
could their strange growth be blamed upon the breeze
or will a careful search reveal a clue?

The theories range from mundane to bizarre
poor soil perhaps is all that is to blame
although some think ’twas spacemen from afar
that caused these trees to grow looking so lame

The theory that I like perhaps the best
is that a lawyer’s corpse was buried there
and as his crooked soul lies there at rest
these trees to his likeness began to bear

But whether reason’s normal or insane
I love these weird old trees of Alticane


Written for Friday Fictioneers, where our hostess, Rochelle Wisoff-Fields gives us a weekly photo prompt and then invites us to let our imaginations run free.  The goal is to write 100 words.  I have gone over that quota by a bit, but it’s a challenge to write form poetry and stick to a set word count (my apologies).

although the name Friday Fictioneers denotes fiction, the twisted trees of Alticane do actually exist.  There are numerous theories about why they grow the way that they do, and my poem only highlights a few of them.  I have not yet been to see these aspens, but I plan to soon, as they are not much more than a one hour drive from where I live.  The picture reminded me strongly of pictures that I have seen of the Alticane trees, and I wonder if the picture was, in fact, taken there.


Learning to Breathe

“But…it’s fluid!” she said, with more than just a touch of panic in her voice.

“Calm down, Ana.  We’ve been though this before.  The atmospheric pressure would destroy your lungs if you had a gaseous substance in them.  It has to be liquid.”

Exploration of the outer planets had been talked about for years.  It began in the twentieth century with unmanned spacecraft sent to orbit the planets and take pictures.  It wasn’t until the twenty third century that scientists at NAASA managed to develop a craft that was actually capable of landing on…or more correctly…in… one of the gas giants.

Now, finally, in 2645, the first human voyage to Neptune was being planned.

A’ron had been the first human subject to breathe the specially engineered ThickAir.  After coming out of the chamber, he had joked, “it’s no worse than drowning!”  La’Ana had nearly drowned as a child, and the thought of going through that again was simply more than she could tolerate.  Intellectually, she knew that Ron had been joking, but still…La’ana just couldn’t bring herself to enter the chamber and purposefully inhale a liquid.

The other explorers had all been able to get the hang of it, and they were getting impatient with the lone hold-out.  She would have been cut from the team if not for the fact that she was the only qualified nano-technician in all of New Amarikka who was still young and healthy enough to make the voyage, but still, if she refused to learn how to breathe, she was simply no good to them at all.

It was during Quen’s practice time in the chamber that it happened.  The chamber was simply a giant hyperbaric room to simulate Neptune’s extreme barometric pressure.  He was wearing his breathing apparatus, but La’ana noticed that it was leaking.  If his ThickAir depleted, his lungs would be crushed in a fraction of a second.  She tried calling him to come out to the depressurization lock, but the com seemed to be broken.  Frantically, she looked around for someone to go in to save him, but there was nobody to be seen.

Finally, she did the only thing that she could.  She suited up herself and went in.  She coughed and gagged as the warm liquid filled her lungs, but found that, amazingly, she could breath the stuff!  She ran in and dragged Quen to the lock.  With hand signs (as speaking is impossible with liquid oxygen), she indicated that he needed to switch back to normal air.

When they were both able to breathe again, he began to laugh.  “My tank wasn’t leaking.” he told her, “Didn’t you see the hose I had over my shoulder?  I was just washing the chamber!”


Written for Inspiration Monday

Merely Rhymes?

Over at dVerse, Bjorn has asked us to write poetry using kennings.

“A kenning,” as Bjorn explains, “is a very brief metaphoric phrase or compound word and it means “to know” (derived from Icelandic, but exist in many other languages like Swedish and German). It was used extensively in Old Norse (later Icelandic) and Anglo Saxon poetry as a mean of adding both color, and better meter to the skaldic songs. For instance “whale-road” was used as a kenning for the sea in Beowulf, and “wave-stead” replaced ship in Glymdrápa.”

What is poetry?
so much more than merely rhymes
of some word-slinger
or the fancy metaphors of a thought-dancer
it can be, but…
it can be so many more things
to so many writers
and even more things
to those who are word-imbibers

sometimes it is love-music,
sung onto paper
sometimes it is grief-tears
wetting the page
it can be God-worship
pencil-prayed to the Almighty

or this…the one you’re reading right now
an ode that streaks in binary-bits
from my computer screen to yours

poems are difference-makers.
They’re thought-shapers and

They’re composed
by poet-warriors who come
armed to do battle with their ink-swords

poems are game-changers
and I…
I have the humbling privilege
to write

The Old Lift

Margaret always thought that the old lift seemed incongruous with the the modern sky-scraper.  Like all the other people who worked in the building, she avoided it at all costs, presuming it to be unsafe.  Besides, the glass elevator on the building’s exterior gave a much more thrilling view!

She arrived to work late on Thursday, just in time to miss the departure of the elevator and hear the guard say that the elevator was being closed for maintenance.  She’d have to use the old one.

Reluctantly, she stepped in, pressed “36” for her floor, and found herself there…in nineteen-thirty-six.

image: Copyright -Rochelle Wisoff-Fields


Written for Friday Fictioneers.  Each week, Rochelle Wisoff-Fields gives us a picture as a prompt, and then we get to write a story of approximately 100 words on any topic we can come up with, as long as it’s inspired by the picture.

Moments of Perfection

Beneath the moon, bask’d in her glow
surrounded by the fresh-fall snow
the world around me wash’d in blue
a night-time-only sort of hue
a perfect world when ’tis just so

I love it when this time runs slow
and peace of night can ’round me grow
as I behold this wondrous view
Beneath the moon

Too soon, I know that she will go
she’ll wonder to…I do not know
these moments, rare, are far too few
so to this moment I’ll be true
Beneath the moon


“Moonlight” by Sunita Khedekar

Today at dVerse, Grace has asked us to write poetry inspired by the artwork of Sunita Khedekar.  Colours were the suggested idea, but this very blue piece caught my attention.