Sunday, April 29, 2012

The Lovers and the Nurse

I can’t lift my arms, my legs;
can’t raise my eyes to see you;
can’t summon my voice to greet you.
My body is betraying me,
but you must know
I love you.

My heart breaks to see you
like this: so weak, so broken.
But it’s me who is weak;
it’s me who won’t set you free.
I need you too much.
I always will.

I do my duty with pride,
though my back aches and
my feet protest at each step.
You need me; he needs me.
This is what gives me the strength to
keep going.

Friday, April 27, 2012


A toe peeps out,
testing the air. It darts
beneath the covers,
where it is warm.

A buzz rings out,
waking her up. She starts,
resenting the intrusion that
assaults her senses.
She was dreaming of lovers
beneath the storm.

She then climbs out,
hating her job. These parts
of the morning—waking up,
from that deep, blissful slumber;
getting out of bed into the cold,
empty space—this
she can do without.
She can do without brothers,
their hovering swarm.

And, for a time,
she does.

Can't wait—get out.
The day begins. Her heart's
pounding with the thrill of
something new. She shakes
off the morning chill and moves
in spirited patterns of creation
with other writers. They give birth
to words and, like all mothers,
shape their final form.

(originally published on 27 April 2012 at 8:31 AM Eastern Standard Time)

Thursday, April 26, 2012


'I tell you this in the strictest confidence,' she said. 'Do you understand me?'

I nodded and made as if to zip my mouth shut. 'Sure.' For the life of me, I couldn't understand why she was making such a big deal out of Smithy's holiday destination. Smithy was laid-back and had a habit of giving too much information, so I was pretty sure he wasn't behind the secrecy.

Callie leaned in closer and motioned to me to do the same. Then, in a hushed tone, she said, 'He's dead.'

I sat back in shock, my heart racing. Time stood still, but the people in the café kept moving around me, oblivious. Callie rested back into her chair and took another sip of coffee, as if to wash down the gritty words she'd just spoken. I searched for meaning in those words, but they were in a foreign language. They made no sense to me.

And then I realised: she was joking. I burst out laughing, interrupting the café's subdued buzz. 'Oh, Callie! You had me going there!' I reached for my water glass.

She raised an eyebrow. 'You've drawn us a little attention.' She was right. Several of the patrons were glaring at me, unimpressed by my outburst. 'And I'm not joking. I'm serious.'

I choked on my water, coughing and gasping for air. Callie calmly passed me her napkin so I could wipe the spittle from my lips. When I'd recovered enough to speak, I asked the logical question. 'Cal, how could you possibly know that?'

She sighed. 'Because I killed him.'

Tuesday, April 24, 2012

Good Times

It's been years since I saw you.
People tell me I haven't changed
too much. They don't see see
how much I have changed,
perhaps because I keep reverting back
to how I was then.

Back then, the beer was cold and sharp.
My tongue was sharper, it cut you
faster than my teeth cut through the pizza.
You found me before I ever did, and I never
forgave you for it. Or forgot you.
But, ahhh—the memories. Good times,
good friends and goodbyes.


The chill down my spine was a stark contrast to the heat of the cabin, the crackling fire. In a flash I was gone, drawn away from the trashy drivel I had been writing, something full of passion and plot holes. My mind wandered out across the snow and I struggled to breathe as the night’s icy hand clenched around my heart. After all this time, he had returned.

The fire flashed higher and I was back, present, the half-blank page still before me, taunting me. I pulled it from the typewriter in disgust, scrunched it up and flung it into the fire, watching it burn. If only all half-formed ideas could be disposed of so readily.

It seemed inevitable and then it came, the knock at the door. The sense of foreboding was unbearable, but I moved toward it, unable to stop myself. And why would I? It was always going to be this way. I could feel his tangible presence surrounding me, yet I still couldn’t believe that he was real, couldn’t define him.

With trepidation, I opened the door and looked out into the empty night. Empty, dark, cold, like my heart. Another flash from the fire as it consumed the last of my romance, darkening my shadow on the snow at the doorstep. A creature made a lonesome call in the distance, echoing my soul. I took a step forward and stumbled.

From an endless tumble I started awake, present, the half-blank page still before me, taunting me.

Friday, April 20, 2012


Chrystal looked down at her hands, up at the screen, back down at her hands. She chewed on her lip and thought a bit about what Billy had said. She didn't much like where her thoughts were going. She clicked 'reply' and then 'discard' and then 'reply' again, still uncertain of her next steps.

She was good; she knew she was good. Billy had no right to be saying otherwise. He had no right to tell her she couldn't audition. He had no right to tell her she'd fail, before she'd even met the judges. But he was the boss, and she had to do what she was told, no matter how much she wanted the gig.

Telling herself that she was just writing it for therapeutic purposes and would never send it, she began to tap out an email, occasionally looking over her shoulder to check she was alone. She wrote of her distress, her distrust, and her fear of self-destruction. She told Billy of all her doubts about her ability, his dedication, their future. She let it all out in a flurry of words, barely away of which ones she had chosen. She clicked 'send'.


She checked over her shoulder again and pondered her situation. This was bad; she new this was bad. She'd never stuffed up like this before. It could mean the end of her career—or her life.

Getting up from the desk, she pulled a suitcase from under the bed, sneezing and crying as a cloud of dust whirled up to tickle her face. She opened it and started filling it, carefully at first, then with increasing vigour as the urgency of her situation struck her. When the case was almost full, she pulled the plug from the wall and threw the MacBook in, cables still attached.

She fled down the staircase, dragging the heavy bag behind her. It banged loudly as it fell from riser to riser but she didn't want to stop to adjust it and didn't think she could lift it. The important thing was getting the hell out of this house. She moved quickly across the entry hall and reached for the front door handle.


I held your hand, looking into
your soul.
Tears welled up in
my eyes.

Our hands were clasped together,
holding on to
precious things,
my grip stronger,
yours more determined.

I bent close to your face,
my cheek against yours,
your lips to my ear.
You whispered,

I love you.

And then you were gone.

Wednesday, April 18, 2012

Because you asked…

Trifecta asked about me.

Okay, not really about me, but about anyone who visits the site. I fall into that category. I plunge into that category. I am a member of that set.

What is your name (real or otherwise)?
Tamyka Bell, but if you creep me out at a party I'll tell you I'm Angela. If you met me at uni games in the early 2000s, I probably told you I was Natalya Svetlana Nesdescovszki.

Describe your writing style in three words.
quirky, blunt, eclectic

How long have you been writing online?
I first started posting my poetry online in 1999 or 2000. I began a blog a few years later, though I've occasionally downloaded it, deleted it and started it over again.

Which, if any, other writing challenges do you participate in?
It's April 2012 and I'm working my way through the Poetry Month Poem-A-Day Challenge at Writer's Digest. I've also responded to a few prompts on The Write Practice and I aspire to join NaNoWriMo this year… if life doesn't interfere with my commitment.

Describe one way in which you could improve your writing.
I tend to focus on the visual aspects of my descriptions and I'd like to pay more attention to my other senses.

What is the best writing advice you’ve ever been given?
To write and read as much as I can, and never ignore the muse.

Who is your favorite author?
That's too hard! I choose me! Here's a small list instead: Stephen King, Jane Austen, Haruki Murakami, Paulo Coelho, Ian Irvine, Isobelle Carmody, Dan Millman, Lian Hearn. All for different reasons, I suppose.

How do you make time to write?
It's a process of structured procrastination. I've gotten behind on my uni work, so I'm putting extra effort into the Poem-A-Day Challenge, writing competition submissions, and blogging. When I've caught back up on my work, I'll go back to writing for an hour or so each morning.

Give us one word we should consider using as a prompt. Remember--it must have a third definition.
Force. (I also liked thunder and stumble.)

Direct us to one blog post of yours that we shouldn't miss reading. 


She sat before the mirror, carefully painting her face, reproducing the mask she showed the world. In twelve minutes, he would begin screaming at her to 'get a move on, woman!' In fourteen minutes she would be done, lips perfectly red, hair perfectly coiffed, bruises perfectly covered.

It was a ritual she would observe to the end of her days, just as she observed the traditional rituals of her lineage. And perhaps this was yet another of those traditions, shared by her sex throughout the ages, a sufferance to bestow honour upon her family.

'Get a move on, woman!' His hated voice shot up the stairs and filled the emptiness around her, echoed in her heart.

When she was ready, she knelt before the small shrine she had constructed, bowing her head. She had spent weeks collecting bits and pieces that others had discarded in the yard, and that he insisted upon calling 'junk'. It was not junk, but an embodiment of her saviour, who gave her the strength to keep walking through the days.

She held an unspoken wish that one day he would give her the strength to walk away. But, for now, it was enough to keep living. She went downstairs to answer to her husband, propping on the last riser and hoping that she had done enough. She didn't want to start over again.

He was displeased, but less so than normal. His lustful eyes roamed over her body as he slurred something about 'his pretty little lady', which she chose to acknowledge with a small dip of her head. It was obviously the wrong thing to do. His face contorted into a leer, and fear crept into her heart.

'Ya think yer some kinda princess or somewhat, eh? Noddin' at me like that… pretty little tart, maybe, but yer no princess.'

And so it began.

Tuesday, April 17, 2012


I rest a moment
beneath the tree.
Wiping my brow, I survey
the surrounding countryside.

Sweeping plains,
painted in shades of brown and red,
accentuated by pockets of brown grass
dotted across the landscape.

Everything is withered,
even me.
My throat is parched like the scene before me,
behind me,
surrounding me.
This desert's sand fills me,
scratching my throat and
choking my lungs, until
I can't breathe.

I investigate the tree,
its gnarled trunk thick with age
like grandma's vein-clad legs,
its arching branches hanging low,
its leaves tickling the dust
like mother's broom,
sweeping away the evidence of
my intrusion.

I should head back now—
they'll be looking for me.
Mother will be worried, and
Pa will get mad.

But there is nothing familiar here;
the space is all new and
I'm not sure which way to go.

I am certain this tree lured me here.
It must have had a good reason, and
now its shade is so tempting…

Perhaps if I lie down for a while,
all will become clear.


I thought she would come
to see me,
after that. But
she never did.
She never saw who I was.

Instead there came
an endless stream of
masked men and women,
and dogs.

Through the crowds
I fought,
seeking the empty space
within. I did without
those things to which
I had become accustomed.

And noise assaulted my ears,
and delicious aromas taunted me,
and my eyes beheld infinite darkness
while small hairs pricked up
on my arms and
my neck.

Then one voice spoke silence, and
the rivers stopped flowing.
Seas surged and storms swept overhead
while the seasons stood still.

Beneath the tempest
I waited.
I heard her from
far away, and
I thought she would come. But
she never did.