Jen’s No Rules Friday

You see all my light.

She remembers a time before me.
She remembers a time before cell phones and HDTV and internet and me looking down at my phone instead of at her face.

She remembers pound cake recipes and what to do when my grandfather lost his fingers to the bite of a band saw and how to cut my father’s hair when his feet couldn’t even touch the kitchen floor and the shape of my tiny hand wrapped around hers, my lungs like the wing beats of a hummingbird on fire, long before I should have seen the light of day.

She remembers family. She remembers work. She remembers a time when her hands held things together better than the rusty ones she has now.

She remembers putting my father in the ground. His ashes are caught in her tear ducts. I see them every time she looks at me and sees his nose on my face, and the waste of his life in my eyes.

She remembers all of it. Stories fall from her lips like spun gold.

But today I said, “I’m your granddaughter.”

And you love my dark.

*~*~*~*~*~*~*
Stay tuned for our Special Guest, Tori’s, No Rules Friday next week.

Jen’s No Rules Friday

This poem is inspired by Audrey’s Nymphs and Satyrs

Water is nothing and everything.

Rain falls for gravity only, and how it loves the fall,

waves crash at the mercy of the moon, over and over and over again.

Love slipped through my fingers

like nothing

and everything.

He rests at the bottom of my waterlogged heart.

There is no moon to pull him back,

no gravity to steady my hands,

and I am trapped here

in nothing

and everything.

*~*~*~*~*~*~*

Stay tuned for Anne’s No Rules Friday next week.

 

 

 

 

 

 

“Song of Wandering Aengus” by WB Yeats Inspires Jen

The Song of Wandering Aengus © Copyright William Butler Yeats, 1899. All rights reserved. Used by permission of the Creative Commons License.

The Song of Wandering Aengus © Copyright William Butler Yeats, 1899. All rights reserved. Used by permission of the Creative Commons License.

The Hunt

The night of the Hunt we always stole away, Mica and I, just in case. Most stayed with their families to say goodbye in case the glow started, but we stuck together. The elixir lingered on my tongue, heavy and sickly sweet like molasses. My hands shook as I waited for my veins to glow white, or not.

Mica bit into an apple he stole, keen to get the taste of the damning elixir out of his mouth. He tossed the fruit to me. It was crisp and light, one of the best I’d had here. We waited for the glow. It should have only taken a few minutes.

“Don’t worry about me,” he said.

“I always worry.”

“I know, so do I.” His brown eyes were made black by the slivered moon above us. Then he kissed me and I forgot everything, and we ended up a sticky mess of Macintosh nectar and summer heat.

I’ve worried every month since this deal was struck. This was the price we paid for the protection of the Headers. They get to hunt us like dogs once a month, and we get to sleep in the protection of the city away from the demons rising from the ashes outside the untouchable dome of Nacht. They would kill three people tonight, chosen by the elixir we all just drank. Drink the placebo and you can go home, but drink elixir and your veins spark like fireworks. That’s when you start running. It’s a sport.

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Jen’s No Rules Friday

A little bit of poetry on a sleepy Friday morning? Sure.

 

I once wrote about rain and skeletons. I asked for them back, but you can’t get words back. Fingers twisted and crushed and words became noise and something to hold out of reach, just like a heavy heart. You can’t get words back.

You can’t get time back. You can’t get back the first rose blush of love.

But that’s good, because you don’t want it back.

You want white flags and white doves and a red heart, more alive than hope. A heart dripping something so hot it burns through the floors of doubt in a house made of glass. So loud they can hear it in the street.

Do you want my white flags? Do you want my white doves so full of promise they can’t get to the clouds fast enough? Do you want my red heart?

It’s loud and hot and my doubt is crashing so hard I’m catching shards of shrapnel like shooting stars, and every wish is sitting six hundred miles away painting a red heart onto a white canvas.

I said I’d never give away words again, but you can have them all. No more glass houses, just your arms. Go paint our hearts on your canvas and give me every burning constellation you’ve got in your eyes.

Let’s break every bit of glass in this place if it means making galaxies so bright I can’t think of anything other than kissing you under the stars.

 

 

 

“Love Song to California” by Jen Hickman Inspires Jen

LoveSongtoCalifornia_JenHickmanQueen of Trees: an Elemental Extra

“Cameron.”

My name startles me out of concentration. The baby summer squash plant I was urging out of the soil explodes under my hands. The spring sun is multiplied tenfold under the greenhouse’s glass and sweat burns my eyes. As part of the nature facet of Elemental power, my connection with plants guarantees a plentiful summer garden as long as the plants don’t explode. Like this one. I toss the it’s shriveled root ball into the compost bin.

“Oh, sorry,” Tess says, brushing leaves off the worktable next to me and hopping up to sit. “I didn’t mean to ruin it.”

“It’s okay,” I smile over at her, “there only a hundred others.” Her booted feet swing above the ground and her hair escapes from the messy knot she’s tied it in. Tiny dark curls wisp at the back of her neck, and I want to tuck them back where they belong.

I wipe my forehead with my sleeve, wondering if I smell as dirty as I feel. She smells like rain and woods, which is like a mixture of the two of us. She’s the most talented Tempest this world has seen and she can mix a storm out of nothing. Impressive is an understatement.

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When Worlds Collide by Jen (an April Fool’s Extra)

*Go here and here to read the origins of this story*

Firefight

“Gemma, lift!” Grace’s voice cuts me from somewhere near sleep. I thank the stars for that, because the sea is heavy on my flight feathers, misting my face with cold and salt. She swoops down to catch me in her wake and drag me up, away from the surf.

“You scared me to death,” she says. I laugh, though it’s not funny. “Only half a mile to go, looks like.”

“Where are we going?” My voice falls to the sea like lead. Grace looks over her shoulder at me and drags the air with her wings, slowing to let me catch up. She doesn’t answer, just taps me with her primaries as she flies. The sun is an idea on the horizon, spitting pastel pink on the trees we fly for. Her feathers are ash and blue in the waning dark, and I want to curl up next to her and smolder forever.

We touch down on sand that leads to woods, hiding our wings from the unknown. A river narrows into the woods, bubbling like questions. We find a hollow near the river, and I’m asleep before she can kiss me goodnight.

Pounding wakes me, rhythmic and fast.

Hooves. I reach out, catching nothing but leaves. Panic swells hot in my chest.

“Grace?”

“I hear it,” she says above me, tree branches obscuring her. “Come up here.”

I reach her branch and let the leaves envelop me. The pounding shakes our trees, but slows.

“Centaurs,” I say. Her eyes are widen. “We’re in Omnia.” We traded the abuse of one land for another, for all the talk of Omnia is of the death in their mines and their king’s dirty dealings with other lands.

These men wear his crest. They’re formidable Percherons, all hulking muscle and dappled gray. A pair of them pull a cart while two more guard the flanks.

“Stop here,” one says. “I want to check her.”

“She was stupid to run,” another laughs. A steel centaur pulls a tarp off the cart, and my skin prickles. What I thought was cargo is one of their own, bound and gagged. Her midnight coat fades into a torso that’s more bruises than skin.”He won’t have her for a daughter. I hear the wolves want her as a pet and are willing to pay.”

“Maybe we could play with her first.” They laugh again, and I can’t see straight.

Grace’s nails dig into my arm as her wings spring from her back, rustling leaves. Her eyes scream injustice. I know that look on her face, I saw it through the bars of my own prison on Maderas. I let my wings fall from my back, and I’m proud of her. There’s good in the killer and firebringer our land made us out to be.

A twig snaps. A centaur girl below us is golden and fierce in the morning light. She trembles, eyes focused on the cart. Her body screams in a silent way and I know her, too. She is us.

I jump from my perch and land soft next to her.  Grace shadows me, hands telling and soft on my hips. The Halflinger girl doesn’t flinch, but takes us in with knowing glances.

“Is she yours?” I whisper.

She nods, fire in her eyes.

Sparks fly from my fingertips. “Let’s go get her.”

~*~*~*~*~
A/N: Happy April Fools! I hope you enjoyed our mash-ups. We were inspired by last month’s Craft Discussion: World Building.

 

 

 

 

“Human” by Ethel Veva King Inspires Jen

HumanEthelVevaKingCrashing

When I was a small thing, all blond cowlicks and knees, not even tall enough to ride the shabby roller coaster at the Jetty, I swore the ocean waves spoke words. The water was off limits, no swimming, no fishing, no boats. But the waves whispered a native language only I could hear. These days, I don’t ride the roller coaster because it’s a deathtrap, and I know it was not the sea speaking.

It was the selkies.

For years they were stories my father told me to help me fall asleep at night. Tales of beautiful boys and lovelorn girls who lived in the ocean and shifted into the sleek dark forms of seals. To have their pelt was to have their loyalty, or something like that. I always fell asleep before the end.

Years later, I heard Maddox. I was seventeen. My heart was full of waves and I wanted to be among them. I waded in, though I’d never doggie paddled a day in my life. I couldn’t stay away. I didn’t know how the waves would pull at my feet and my heart so hard that the shore would seem like more of an idea than something I could reach. I was a good swimmer, natural as breathing.

“Jesus Christ, you’re fast.” The voice was smooth as beach glass in my mind, with a lilt that leaned in funny ways.

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