OLWG #174 Tanka, Lune, and Variant of Same

This week’s prompts are at the bottom. The words below are written just for practice. Practice makes perfect

Here’s how to play along, if you are unsure.



Cravings- A Tanka

I want a ripe peach

they have skins of languid pink-

and taste sweet as a

Alabama cornbread cake

with brown sugar and pecans


Sentenced- A Lune

twenty-five to life

may be OK

Lest the devil calls


Sentenced- a Lune Variant

twenty-five to life

lest Satan calls me home

wait for me


This weeks prompts are:

  1. the world breathing
  2. it ain’t gonna be pretty
  3. lust or love

OLWG #173- Too Much

This week’s prompts are at the bottom. The words below are written just for practice. Practice makes perfect.

Here’s how to play along, if you are unsure.


No one ever called Cally a petite girl.

She was big; not big boned – big,

Broad muscled shoulders,

Her arms were strong. Her legs were stronger.

She wore a thick plait of blonde hair down her back that touched just below her waist.

 

When her folks passed, Cally took over the ranch

 

She worked too hard.

She smoked too many cigarettes.

She drank too much.

She cared about seemingly everything.

She loved too much.

 

Cally and I had two children together before she joined her parents.

 

The state got the ranch

I got Les and Carol.

And I got that picture of Cally and me

It was taken at twilight one evening; we were at the overlook, smiling and standing by the truck.

One of those tree shaped air fresheners was hanging from the rear view.

 

For the life of me I can’t remember who snapped the shot.



This week’s prompts are:

  1. throw it in the gutter
  2. learned in school
  3. long term

OLWG #172- Ah, Señora

This week’s prompts are at the bottom. The words below were written for practice. Practice makes perfect. My thanks to the OC Writers guild, this week, from whom I stole the inspiration for this post. My apologies for the delay in getting this post up – Life just got in the way. Thanks for playing along.

Here’s how to play along, if you are unsure.



The Oswin family had been part of this neighbourhood forever. Most of the homes on the east side, and even my bar on Remy Street, had been built by the Oswins.

Cleve had been a contractor who learned the trade from his daddy; who had, in turn learned it from his. Cleve married his high school sweetheart, Karen Adams, when he came back from the war in Europe and six months later Karen gave birth to their first son, Scott. Three other boys followed on the heels of the first one. They were named Paul Oswin, Mike Oswin, and the youngest got saddled with the name Tiger Oswin.

Cleve collapsed on the job with a heart attack. He left Karen a young widow with four sons.

Scott got drafted in ’68 and never came home from Vietnam. His name is chiselled into a granite wall in DC.

Paul got a job at the mill and was crushed in an industrial accident after working there for less than a year.

About halfway through his second year in college, Michael’s car battery died. Mike took a bullet through the head as he was taking the battery out of a truck belonging to the manager of the Linsmore Store in town.

Tiger and his mother were the only ones left.  Tiger crawled into a bottle and spent most of his days warming a stool at the end of Murphy’s bar. He didn’t come into my place very often. I’d been friends with his brothers and worked summers for his dad. The memories must have been too painful. Oh, he’d come in when his money was light. He knew I was good for a couple of drinks on the house.

The real tragedy of this story, though is Karen Oswin. All the death and despair that she had seen weighed heavily on her kind soul. Her health began to suffer. It was a gradual thing and it may have been dementia or it may have been heartbreak, but she began to fancy herself a fine Spanish lady. Most days she wanders aimlessly around the neighbourhood introducing herself to people. She tells them that her name is Doña Isobel Philomena Santiágo Rivera. Occasionally, in the afternoon, she’ll stop into my place for a drink; maybe a snack (she calls them tapas).

##

“Ah, señora Santiago,” I’ll say, “Buenas tardes.” I’ll pour her a small glass of red wine and set it on a napkin in front of her.

“Buenas tardes, Guillermo.” She replies. Then she sits silently and sips her drink, If she had tapas she’ll take a few small bites, but she never finishes the food. She’ll organize the plate, glass and silverware neatly on the bar top. She folds the napkin crisply in half and takes her leave.


This week’s prompts:

  1. the nose on his face
  2. can’t there be another way?
  3. rocket boys

OLWG #171- The Agony of Defeat

This week’s prompts are at the bottom. The words below were written for practice. Practice makes perfect.

Here’s how to play along, if you are unsure.



It was always on a Saturday morning. My sister and I would wear our pyjamas and sit on the floor behind the dark wood coffee table. We would gorge on over-sweetened breakfast cereals and drink black coffee. We had about three hours of uninterrupted cartoons brought to us, primarily, by the makers of those same cereals that we were eating. We’d watch Wonder Dog, Mr Magoo, Looney Tunes, and others until 10:00 when ABC’s Wide World of Sports came on. This was before Vinko Bogataj made his ill-fated jump in Oberstdorf Germany. In those days it was another ski jumper, whose name I cannot recall, but who lost the vertical alignment of his skis right before landing. Usually, my sister would disappear before the sports programme, and I didn’t always watch, but usually, I would stick around for at least part of it.

Who knows where my sister would go but I would usually venture outside. It was the weekend, no school, an abundance of clement weather; and I had friends living up and down the block. I would be gone for the rest of the day. The rule was: during the school year, I had ten minutes after the streetlights came on to be home. During the summer, when the days were longer, my mom would whistle us in for dinner and then we could go out again after that.

We spent our Saturday’s playing football or hockey in the street. Sometimes we’d wrap a potato in aluminum foil and ride bicycles through the nearby desert. We’d jump off berms or over arroyos seco; pausing only to bury our wrapped spuds and build a fire over them. The resulting baked potatoes served as lunch. We may have even been the unsung inventors of the sport of all-terrain mountain biking, although our equipment was rudimentary compared to what they ride today.

We dug an underground fort in Billy Emig’s back garden and built a treehouse high in Ula Ramirez’ giant Mulberry tree. Ula was a girl, but she was the smartest one of all of us, she could ride a bike like the wind, and she had the best tree on the block. I tried dating Ula briefly after high school but we were too good as friends for that to work. She joined the Army after that. She was an only child, her Mama worried about her when she went to Vietnam. The Ramirez house, like all the others on the block, was a three-bedroom ranch with a carport on the east side and a four-foot rock wall around the back garden. The Mulberry was in her back yard and her dad had planted a giant weeping willow in the front.

It was a pretty good childhood.

When my sister was sixteen she found herself ‘with child’. She was shipped off to have the baby, give the baby up for adoption, and finish high school. Shortly after that, my third year in high school, my parents ‘mixed-orientation marriage’ of twenty-five years failed (just like Vinko Bogataj’s attempt at flight in Oberstdorf) and they split up. I stuck around long enough to finish high school, loaded up a backpack, and for a graduation present my father gave me a ride to the freeway.

Don’t get me wrong, I got along pretty good with my parents even after they divorced, but I wanted adventure. I hitchhiked through the lower forty-eight states before waking up one Saturday morning and realizing that I needed to find Ula again. She and I eloped and even though they all said it wouldn’t last; we’ve been married 48 years, come our next anniversary. We have two daughters, Trella and Luz, they have a younger brother, whom we named Vinko.

Trella has two boys and lives with her third husband in the mountains of Colorado. Luz and her wife, live on the coast of South Texas. Vinko? Well, Vinko is Vinko. He’s on the road. We got a postcard about three months ago from Vinko. It seems he met and married an Indonesian girl named Cahya. They are staying, for the time being, on Atauro Island. It’s part of East Timor. I’m a little worried about the politics there, but he’s happy. He says that Cahya wants to come to meet the family.

That sounds pretty good to me.


This week’s prompts:

  1. you can be sincere and still be stupid
  2. sunny place; shady people
  3. not even the poets

OLWG #170- Back to School

This week’s prompts are at the bottom. The words below were written for practice. Practice makes perfect.

Here’s how to play along, if you are unsure.



Irene was wearing a pink and blue flower print cotton shift and standing on the front porch with her hands on her hips as she watched the school bus pull away from the curb. “Thank God summer is over.” She said out loud, speaking more to herself than to Jenny; but no one else was there to hear her so Jenny assumed that Irene was speaking to her, and she replied.

“Amen to that,” Jenny said. “We should go inside and mix up some Bloody Mary’s. Celebrate the kids going back to school.”

“I don’t want some Bloody Mary’s,” Irene said, “and, I’m not all that happy ’bout the kids going back to school neither. I’m gonna miss having ’em around the house. I like ‘em being underfoot all day.”

“Yeah, I’m gonna miss ‘em too,” Jenny parroted back distractedly. “The little bastards do kinda grow on you. Who are we gonna kick around now?”

“What the hell are you talkin’ about Jenny?”

“I’m talkin’ ’bout, what with the kids gone back to school, I can start drinking at 8 o’clock – when the school bus leaves. I can drink till noon and then take a nap till 3:30 when they come home from school. Hell, if Billy makes the team I can sleep till 4. Summer really puts a kink in my drinking habits. Why, what are you talkin’ ’bout Irene?”

“I’m talkin’ about how the traffic is gonna ease up without so many folks comin’ to the beach. It’s gonna be a lot easier to get around. What are we gonna do with you, Jenny? Do we gotta have another intervention?”

“Not yet,” Jenny said as she pulled a flask out of her bag. “But, maybe ’round Thanksgiving time.”


This week’s prompts:

  1. give credit.
  2. shrouded in fog
  3. he went that-a-way

OLWG #169- Evander

This week’s prompts are at the bottom. The words below are written for practice. Practice makes perfect.

Here’s how to play along, if you are unsure.



Evander was an old orange tabby missing most of his right ear, thus the name. He usually took his meals courtesy of the widow, J’Lene. Ms J’Lene kept a small bowl of Friskies and a complimentary bowl of water on her back porch. She was the closest thing to a friend that Evander the cat had in this world; these days anyway, and she didn’t even know his name. She called him “Kitty.” How embarrassing was that?

 It hadn’t always been that way though. He had vague recollections of a young girl way back in his mind, a girl who wore her hair in pigtails. She was a girl who would feed him and stroke his fur, a girl who would sometimes provide a bowl of warm milk, never too hot; always just right. Best of all, she was a girl who let him sleep in her bed at night and who could play with a piece of string most of the day.

 One day she disappeared, up and gone. Evander never found out where she went or why. He had to find his own food after that. No one wanted to stroke his raggedy fur. Once in a blue moon, he might come across some warm milk, intended for someone else, but ready to be stolen by him. He slept rough; in trees or bushes. Open garage doors held promise for a safe place to sleep when he could find them, but nothing compared to his vague memories of that girl’s bed. Not only had it been warm and soft, but it had also smelled heavenly.

 Those memories were dim and fading. Most of what Evander remembered was scrapping, fighting for his very survival. He remembered the occasional Molly, but they were few and far between. Mostly he remembered hunger, anger, hurt, and fear. He liked Ms J’Lene, but he didn’t trust her. He couldn’t trust anyone. Evander was a tough guy.

 It was one evening, after stopping at Ms J’Lene’s for a quick bite when it happened. It was a cold, clear winter night in December when Evander, with a full belly, made his way downtown to see if he could scare up a Molly with romance on her mind. He went to the alley behind the Chinese restaurant on Centre Street first. He knew a lot of the gang liked to frequent the dumpster there. An observant cat could find bits of chicken, the occasional shrimp head and a lot of vegetables there on any given night, except Tuesday. “Canton Chinese” wasn’t open on Tuesdays.

 He saw Oliver, Boots, Max, and Loki there. Max had scored what looked to be a fishtail but it was hard to be sure. He was being pretty protective of it. There weren’t any girls there either so Evander stayed only a short time; he liked these guys all right, but he had other things on his mind. He moved on.

 There was nobody at “La Parilla Caliente.” Evander didn’t blame them. The scraps here were usually pretty spicy. The steak house attached to the hotel down by the freeway was where he found the Molly’s. Cleo was there with Roxie and Pumpkin. Evander was happy to see Pumpkin. She was a long-haired Orange, there musta been some Persian blood, and she was a babe. Usually, she would come around with a little bit of sweet talk, and she liked it when his breath carried a hint of fish. Tonight, though she was too busy to bother with thoughts of love. Evander thought maybe he shoulda fought Max for that tail. He hadn’t known he would see Pumpkin though, and he had eaten the Friskies at Ms J’Lene’s, so he hadn’t been all that hungry.

 He moved on around the front of the hotel and that was where it happened. She was bigger now. Her hair wasn’t in pigtails. She was walking from a car in the lot to the front door. It was her. He recognized her scent right away. Memories of her bed swarmed him. He froze and watched her. He couldn’t help himself, he began to purr. When she stopped and turned he recognized her smile.

 “Evander?” she spoke. She kept talking, following up with kind words that he couldn’t understand. Holding out her hand, she knelt, “Evander?” she asked again.

 Could it be her? 

 Could he trust her? He hadn’t trusted anyone for such a long time.

 He took a few steps back. 

 Why had she left him? 

 She scooted forward a couple of steps without standing, staying low.

 Evander arched his back. It must be a trick! He hissed and turned and ran back to where he had left Cleo, Roxie and Pumpkin. He had to warn them.


This week’s prompts:

  1. let them go
  2. bulbous
  3. bandit cash

OLWG #168- Fare and Feed

This week’s prompts are at the bottom. The words below are written for practice. Practice makes perfect.

Here’s how to play along, if you are unsure.



Dinner at the Fare and Feed

Linda excuses herself after the appetizer, before the entree

                Leaves her phone next to her glass

I watch her walk to the back – towards the “Ladies Room”

and turn down the dark corridor where toilets lurk and a payphone used to hang

Maybe a minute passes – Maybe two or three

The table vibrates, not really the table, but the phone

It causes the table to vibrate before erupting into song

Linda apparently has “Disco Duck” set as her ring tone

and it’s loud – Heads turn towards me

Strangers eyes, like daggers, pierce to the fabric of my being

I pounce on the phone and swipe to answer

“Hello?” I whisper to avoid further disturbance for my fellow diners

“Linda? It’s Chip. Are you still with him? Is this going to work?”

I terminate the call.

and put her phone back where it was

Glance to the back of the restaurant just as Linda emerges from the corridor

Oh shit! Did she see me?

Do I say anything?

I stand as she nears the table and fiddle with the back of her chair as she regains her seat

Her smile is radiant

Her eyes sparkle

“Really?” I say and watch her brow crinkle.

“Disco Duck?” I ask.

The light in her eyes dims.

“Chip called,” I say. “He wants to know if it’s going to work.”


This week’s prompts:

  1. running late
  2. a fat man in a Speedo
  3. an old orange cat

OLWG #167- NO

This week’s prompts are at the bottom. The words below are written for practice. Practice makes perfect.

Here’s how to play along, if you are unsure.



Diego slumped his shoulders and looked at his toes. He stuffed his hands deep into the pockets of his trousers and shuffled along the edge of the dirt road, making his way towards Clara’s. The sun hung high in the cloudless sky. It was hot and dry; small clouds of dust rose with each step and soon he was using the sleeve of his shirt to wipe his brow. Keep the sweat from running into his eyes. By the time he got to the turnoff leading to Clara’s daddy’s house, Diego was drenched. He paused and considered what he was about to do, then shook off any doubt and headed up the drive to Clara’s.

As he neared the house he could see Sr Lopez working by the barn. He smiled inwardly when he noticed that Clara’s Jeep was not parked in the yard, meaning that she was not home. Diego slowed his pace as he approached, practicing his speech. When Clara’s father noticed him, he ceased working and leaned on his shovel.

“Buenas tardes, Diego,” Dijo el señor López. “Me temo que Clara no está aquí”.

“Lo sé, señor. He venido a hablar con usted.”

“Bueno, tomemos una bebida fría y sentémonos a la sombra del álamo.” He buried the blade of his shovel in the mound of soil he was moving and wiped his hands on his shirt. Gesturing to Diego to follow, Sr. Lopez headed toward the farm house back door. Diego veered toward the wooden table beneath the Cottonwoods. He picked up a fallen branch and dusted the table top and the bench seats on either side. When Sr. Lopez reappeared he set down a tray with two glasses of ice water and a plate of biscochitos .

¿Qué puedo hacer por ti, Diego?”

Diego choked on a dry throat, sipped his water and launched into his speech, “Sr. Lopez, I’ve come to ask for your blessing and your permission to take Clara as my wife.”

Lopez’ expression darkened and he snatched up both glasses of water. “Absolutely not, Diego,” he poured the water on the dusty ground and stood.

“But, but…” Diego stammered.

“My Clara is too good for the likes of you. Her mother and I have plans for her. You just won’t fit in.” He spun on his heel towards the house but dropped one of the water glasses which shattered on the hard packed earth beneath the tree. He turned back around and put the tray with the remaining glass back on the table, “Adiós Diego, creo que deberías irte ahora.”

He walked back to his shovel and got back to work.

Diego stood and watched Sr. Lopez for a while, then stuffing his hands back in his pockets he returned the way that he had come.


  1. she stared at Robert’s ceiling and wished she was on top
  2. take care of your tools
  3. blue glass

OLWG #166- A Bowlful of Oranges

This week’s prompts are at the bottom. The words below are written for practice. Practice makes perfect.

Here’s how to play along, if you are unsure.



I came into the room and told her my name

she smiled and asked me to wait

“only be a moment,” she said through bold red lips

she gestured to a seat by the window

where I sat

I sat by the window

she sat by the table

a bowl of oranges sat on the table

looking only at me she removed a large fruit from the bowl and…

used her thumbnail to score a circle

in the skin of said orange then denuded

the entire fruit

she pressed her thumb into the hole

splitting the orange into two over and over again

until finally it was separated into individual sections

which she peeled using a long thin blade

then ate them, one at a time, without speaking


  1. I’ve got no further use for these
  2. writing is like sex
  3. courage is a weapon