Sunday, November 30, 2014

Tiger's Wanderings - Character Exploration for a Short Story

It’s a bunny you follow this time, a little hippity-hop in the yard. Follow the little hippity-hop up the street and down the road and into the ditch and out of the ditch and across the street -


Poor little hippity-hop! Little bloody one! Little smashed one!
Can’t save it.

That’s when the butcher ogre spins his wheel of fortune. All the streets and trees and houses, all the doors and windows and clouds, go whirling by, go flashing by, flippity-flip, changing one to the other to the other, and when the world stops spinning, you’re lost.

The munchkins point and giggle. "Just follow the yellow brick road," they say.

Sooner or later you meet a wizard or a fairy godmother and they take you to the Emerald City. It’s full of flying monkeys who’ve lost their wings, and heartless woodsmen and cowardly tigers.

Cowardly Tigers.

They always serve pork chops in the Emerald City. Porkchops and beans and mashed potatoes. You save the scraps for Bootsie. Good ol’ Bootsie. They’re only scraps. Even the flying monkeys share scraps.

Somebody in the Emerald City always has the magic elixir. You have to hide it from the wizard. All the animals pass it around. It takes you back to the field of poppies and up into the clouds and even the Winkies get a clue. If you drink enough and click your heels together three times, you find your way home, find it just the way you left it, and Bootsie comes running and you give him a  treat because he’s so happy to see you and you’re so happy to see him and you promise never, ever, ever to wander off again.

But something always fails you. It’s the Wicked Witch that does it. She’s cast a spell over the whole land. Made it haunted. When the spell takes you, you’ve got no choice but to follow - follow a hippity-hop or an acorn-muncher or a spotted hornhead or a tiny flapper or a mini song machine.

Tuesday, November 18, 2014

A Frog In the Classroom

A frog
There's a frog
A frog in the corner
A frog in the dust
Tiny as a thumbnail
Flat as cardboard
Dry and lost and alone.
A frog!
In the corner
In the classroom
Under foot - almost.
A frog.
By a small giant
Age 8,
and empathetic
and unafraid to call out,
"A frog!"

Monday, September 15, 2014


For this one unthinkable thing
You don't get to know Why.

For this unthinkable thing,
Why will burrow in your heart and grow
Like a weed,
     a canker,
         a tapeworm,
An oak.

In this unthinkable time,
Why will drop its duffle, flop on the couch,
     and stay -
A drug-addicted, lying thief
Who saps your strength and breaks your heart
And takes, with no return.

Why will pull you down the rabbit-hole,
And never look back.

Send Why packing.
Brook no arguments.
Banish him from your door.

For this time and place,
For this one unthinkable thing,
Why is nothing but a useless punk.

Monday, July 28, 2014

Canoe Memory

by Cynthia J. McGean
In the calm of the lake, 
The ripples on the water,
The buzz of a dragonfly,
The hum of cicadas,
In the dip of the paddle
And the whisper
      of the breeze
Speaks the still, small voice
Of God.

Sunday, July 6, 2014

When I fell out of favor, I was buried alive in the swamp with the rest of them. I never questioned what happened to the others. I guess I just fooled muself. I saw my friends leaving one by one and when they didn't come back, I thought they'd found happiness, someone who would love them forever.

Like the rest of them, I spent most of my life waiting - waiting for someone to want me, to take me home with them, to connect with me on an intimate level, one soul speaking to another. That's when I felt the most alive. But it would never last. After the climax and those final shudders of ecstasy, things were never the same. My old lover might look back and reminisce, maybe come to visit once in a while, but ultimately, I'd end up right back where I started, waiting for someone else to come along and love me that way again.

The slow drop in interest should have been my tip-off. Fewer and fewer hungry souls came calling. Most of them no longer took the time to delve past my surface. They thought I was out of date, irrelevant.

It was all downhill from there - second hand shops, thrift stores, garage sales. My skin was stained and yellow and worn with age. My spine had grown stiff. Even then, I held out hope. I thought I had what it took to stand the test of time, the wear and tear of all those years and all those hands.

When the end finally came, it came without any last words or goodbyes or even a friendly touch. It came in a brown cardboard box that smelled of mildew. The sinews that bound me together were disintegrating, my body decaying. But I was not dead. And I was not alone. My old friends had found their way to the same dark place.

Mud seeped into the corners of the box and suffocated us one by one until our mass grave was nothing but landfill. On the swamp gorged with our bodies, they built a computer warehouse. Fitting monument for a generation of discarded books.

You may think we are dead and gone, but you're wrong. Our souls are our stories, and our stories are immortal. They will creep up through the mud and soak into the concrete and curl around the steel beams. They will infest the circuits and slide down the wires and bleed into the keyboards. And they will find you. We will find you, and when we do, we will haunt you until you give us bodies again.

- Discard, by Cynthia J. McGean

{Author's note: This story is inspired by an article I came across about a swamp that had been filled with boxes and boxes and boxes of old discarded library books in order to be converted into a viable construction site.}

Thursday, January 23, 2014

Lost In the Forest, by Cynthia J. McGean

When you're lost in the forest,
  Too-loo and Froo-froo,
The Jungian, Freudian dreams-may-come-true
Of your unconscious subconscious conches
Will swirl
Into whirling-unfurlingly curly-cue whorls
of worlds
     within worlds
            within worldliness churls.
Keep your eyes peeled, my chickens!
This ain't no fairytale forest.
This is one big, bad-ass, mother of pearly-whites
white-hot, red-hot, hot-rod, cattle-prod forest.
Boldly go there.
Part the curtains of Spanish moss and broken promises,
Empty praise and failed wannabes
And enter the inner sanctum
Naked and bold,
Fear shining in the palm of your hand
Forever until morning.