It’s not enough… How could it be?
You gave me a taste, a drop of vanilla
Splashed across my lips.

I wanted more but you turned the bottle
Upside down and shook your head
Then walked away from that look in my eyes.

Like a swimmer who suddenly finds herself
Far out to sea
I struck for shore, a flutter in my chest.

No lifeguard to rescue me, no stranger
On the beach to wink and say it will be ok
Just my heart and the memory of that taste.

I am calmed now, remembering that day
I didn’t make it, you know…
But my God! That water held me closer than I deserved.

(Thanks to OSI for the writing prompt, “Calmed”)


Reise nach Innen ~Journey inside

Chapter 1 (Updated 6/27/22)

It began the way most things do – with a stab to the heart. Dying that day
wasn’t on my agenda. Not to say I wasn’t depressed. Of course I was… Yet,
I’d somehow accepted that living small was safe. It was comfortable, familiar. It
kept my disappointments to a minimum. If I cried sometimes, randomly, well,
that was part of it. It was my life and I had no serious intentions of leaving

They said the attacker was lucky – a stab to the heart is hard to do. I knew
that because I heard the conversation of the crowd that had gathered around my
cooling body. Apparently, the ribs are a pretty good defense against things
seeking to pierce the heart. Evolution or God… Our bodies seem to have a
bit of wisdom when it comes to survival.

Floating above the circus of co-workers and rescue personnel, I noticed one
individual who seemed calmer than the rest. Joyful. There was something
soothing and grounded about him. I guess I glided over, because suddenly there
he was, staring at me with piercing green eyes. Gray wisps of hair seemed to
dance from his eyebrows and a crooked smile highlighted his somewhat crooked

“Fergal O’Hara,” he said as he tipped a flat tweed hat. “Nice
to meet you.”

Feeling a little off guard because in no way did my random after-death
musings ever lead me to consider anything Irish, I gaped. “Are you
here for me?”

“That’s right, my dear. Are you ready? We’ve got a nice warm body
waiting. I wanted to give you a chance to get used to your new state,
but…” He tilted his head. “You seem like a fast learner. Shall
we go?”

Me a quick learner? The most I’d done since finishing community college was
tread water in a job way below my abilities but that paid the rent. Barely. I
was the 40-something living in McLoser Villas and sliding into Prozac and
YouTube videos of rescued puppies.

As a medical receptionist at a podiatry office, I aspired to showing up. I
had a quote from The Office TV show taped on the bottom of my stapler that
pretty much summed up my feelings to a T. “I’ve always subscribed to the idea
that if you really want to impress your boss, you go in there and you do
mediocre work, halfheartedly.” Thanks, Jim. You get it.

In fact, the most exciting thing to happen at work was dying in front of it.
Apparently, my employer’s wife thought I was “the tart” who was banging her husband,
Dr. Donald Dong (his real name, I kid you not). My auburn hair was the one
thing I had in common with Dr. Dong’s mistress according to a sobbing Mrs. Dong
as they dragged her away from me. Her rage refused to see the other details
that didn’t match and, well, there I lie on the cracked sidewalk in front of our
office’s smudged glass doors.

“What do you mean you have a nice warm body waiting? I just left a
perfectly functioning warm body… Don’t I attend some kind of after-death review?
Or get bathed in healing crystal energy or something?” I’d watched enough
B movies to figure that one out.

Fergal rubbed his jaw. “That’s not the way it works. At least for you. You’ve
got a different assignment that needs your immediate attention. Now my dear,
shall we see what it’s all about?”

Suddenly I felt cold. “Is there no going back?” I turned towards
my body. Sure it wasn’t perfect. There was a bit of a squishy middle, my roots
were growing out (why couldn’t I have died with fresh highlights?!), and yeah, my
love life was a work in progress (I had just signed up on Kill me
now. Oh wait…), but it was my life. I wasn’t done, not by a long shot.

Just the thought of starting over again was overwhelming. “I’m not
ready for a new life! I’m just getting it together in this one!”

“Darlin,” he said as he leaned close to me, “You want the
antidote to your life? A way to fill the hole gaping in your chest? Do
you even see the metaphor of your death?”

He had me there. Even I had to admit that I’d lost my way and was going
nowhere fast. Hence the depression and a freezer full of Chunky Monkey ice
cream. When I was young, I had dreams. I wanted to study medicine. Or be an
elementary school teacher. Or even a philosopher. Everything seemed so
exciting. Instead, I somehow found myself working in a run-down office with posters
of bunions, hammertoes, and ingrown toenails.

Yeah, I wasn’t setting the world on fire this go ‘round. “Okay, Fergal.
I’m willing…”

“That’s all that’s required.” He gave me that crooked smile again
and something in me relaxed. Death isn’t so bad I thought.

And then I felt a thousand volts coursing through my new body and the smell
of ozone.



(This is part of a new novel idea, using the writing prompt from Sunday Scribblings, “antidote.”)

Photo by Alice Popcorn


you are like a star part of the eternal perfection

Can there be anything sweeter than the kiss of a mind gone mad?
What magisty of noise and purpose!
Do you think God loves the crazies?

Those folks with hearts bigger than Texas and minds that have no idea what to do with them?
What about our bodies?
Do they forgive us our overindulgence, our stuffing down of pain?

Vows of suffering and poverty…
What place do they play in the soul’s evolution?
Can we chose again this lifetime?

Will we burn in hell?
Oh, those shackles of thought
…No story ever told is true

“Shackles” prompt courtesy of OSI

Photo courtesy of Alice Popkorn

Bad Bangs

I did it to myself

Followed the directions to a T.

Stepped into the shower and washed out all the goop.

Dripping, I entered a steamy world of white.

The mirror showed me nothing.  Not yet.  Too soon.

Rub, rub… oh the toes were a-tapping.  Time to peek?  Just a little one?


Grab the hair dryer… Point at the mirror… flip the switch and let it roar.

Oh… soon!  Soon the New Me!

Perfect circle forms on glass too revealing, too sharp.

I stand transfixed.

This cannot be…there must be some mistake!

My hair is strawberry-yellowy?  Incandecent orange?  WHAT THE HELL IS IT?

I grab clippers and feel the vibration in my hand as I ponder.

Bad bangs were the least of my problems.

I must stop doing this to myself.

And I will…

Right after I fix this.

Just this.

Thanks to OSI for the awesome prompt, Incandescent.


She felt her thighs quiver

Pushing her finger against her stomach an “Oh hoo hoo” escaped before she could stop it.

The Pillsbury Doughboy always had the last word.

And though she’d love to spend every last cent on fashion

She paused.

The quagmire was this:

Glossy images or better health?  Shoes or self-realization?

Biting her nails, feeling her heart skitter like Chie Mihara heels against a hardwood floor,

She made her decision and closed the laptop.

Was it thunder she heard in the background or perhaps, just maybe,

Her integrity?

(Thanks to OSI for the writing prompt, quagmire.)
(photo by SashaW)

Friday Night


Hugin´s friends

Can I bear the pain of pain?

Can I simply

Numbness – yet another dancing partner
Stepping on my toes, whispering sweet nothings

Empty things
Things on black wings
Smelling of
Cold sweat
And turpentine

Devi, your alter ego is devouring me

The feast is lasting long into the night

The Dark Mother has me in her grip

I am seduced

(photo by Alice Popkorn)

The “Talk”

“Pinch your cheeks, try not to smile too wide, and for God’s sake, don’t frown!”

“I don’t frown… do I?”

“And remember to arrive fashionably late, don’t just walk, sashay across the floor as if you own the place.”


“Now, this is important–try to look blasé. Nothing shouts, ‘Woman over 40 desperate to meet a man’ than a blatant scan of the room.”


“Now… let’s see… breath mints?”

“Yes siree. Got Altoids right here… they’ll put out a forest fire.”

“Extra pair of underpants?”


“Well, then, go get them! And not the grandma ones!”

“I’m sure that won’t be necessary… ”

“Toothpaste and travel brush?”


“Remember, this isn’t just another holiday, woman! It’s December, the single most depressing month of year for single men and women. This is YOUR month. YOUR time to shine. Let’s bring your sexy back, ok?”

“But what about, you know, the ‘reason for the season’ and all that? Jesus? Love? Sugar cookies sprinkled with hope?”

Blank look. “Right, right. That too. Now go out there and have some fun. Oh, and take this along…”

“A miniature bottle of brandy?!”

“What,  you expect to drink plain eggnog? Hell, woman, live dangerously.”

“You know, Grandpa, this is a church Christmas party I’m going to, right?”

“Semper Paratus, my dear girl, Semper Paratus.” He winked. “Always be prepared.”

(This was fun to write and was another minimalist experimentation with dialogue. I love playing with brevity! Thanks to Sunday Scribbling for the prompt of “December”)

Prompt: Curious

I’ve been drumming my nails about something for a long time now… I have a ton of writing books that back me up on this. The question is:  Can I write a book?

I’ve been very curious about NaNoWriMo for a quite a while. Until now, I’ve always missed the deadline. Well, I can’t use that excuse anymore! For those who don’t know:

NaNo in a Nutshell

What: Writing one 50,000-word novel from scratch in a month’s time.

Who: You! We can’t do this unless we have some other people trying it as well. Let’s write laughably awful yet lengthy prose together.

Why: The reasons are endless! To actively participate in one of our era’s most enchanting art forms! To write without having to obsess over quality. To be able to make obscure references to passages from our novels at parties. To be able to mock real novelists who dawdle on and on, taking far longer than 30 days to produce their work.

When: You can sign up anytime to add your name to the roster and browse the forums. Writing begins November 1. To be added to the official list of winners, you must reach the 50,000-word mark by November 30 at midnight. Once your novel has been verified by our web-based team of robotic word counters, the partying begins.

Where: You write wherever you’d like. On your computer, on your iPad, on a typewriter—anywhere is fine, just as long as you’re writing!

Has anyone tried this? I have some wild ideas racing around regarding plot – Granted I have no idea how to pull it off. Maybe that’s not the point. Maybe the point is to go balls to the wall and just put it out there.

It’s a little exciting. It’s a little scary. Damn. This sounds fun. 🙂

(Thanks to Sunday Scribblings for this writing prompt!)

The Hiatus is Over

I have explored the shadow, the inner realm of doubt and loss.  I have traversed into the Light, that sphere of loving free fall.  And in the end, I STILL need to write.  🙂

So, I’m back.  With lots of ideas and the desire to express them.  I’m going with simple writing prompts for now… A see bigger projects in the future, yet for now, I need to flex those typing fingers and just let it out.

More to come…

Your Erstwhile spiritual traveler and friend,

The Little Writer

Photo By Shayan (USA)

One Single Impression – Fog

by alice popkorn
photo by alice popkorn

You can speak now
I am ready; I will drink your scorpion tea.
Even this axe in my heart is
Beautiful in the mist.

Your knowing smile makes me wonder…
Have you come to offer me solace
Or to lead me astray

No matter:  I have found my center.
Alone, I see what I did not see before.
Strength steals through my soul
This fog has taught me a thing or two.

(OSI prompt, “Fog”)