Monday, December 29, 2008

VGL Male Seeks Same excerpt by Rick R. Reed

Rick R. Reed's first foray into the romantic comedy genre is VGL Male Seeks Same. The first excerpt on this blog in 2008 was from Deadly Vision also by Rick R. Reed. It is fitting that this excerpt should both close this year and begin the New Year of 2009.

Ethan Schwartz is alone. At age 42, he's determined not to stay that way. He's exhausted all the avenues for meeting eligible men, except the one he's always shied away from: online. But it seems like everyone is meeting online these days, so why not him? After his online profile gets no response, Ethan creates a new online persona (complete with a gorgeous—and fake—picture) and finds himself inundated with come-ons. And…he falls in love. But how does he get to know his cyber love in the real world…without bringing his web of deception crashing down around him?

The scene below is early on in the story, when Ethan first discovers there may indeed be a cyber highway to romance...

VGL Male Seeks Same
Publisher: Amber Quill Press
ISBN: 978-1-60272-430-3


Ethan was just finishing a victorious game of Spider Solitaire in his cubicle at LA Nicholes and Associates, the entertainment publicity firm where he toiled, when he overheard the office receptionist (a bleached blond waif of a boy no older than twenty) talking to the payroll clerk.

"Girl, if it worked for me, it can work for you!" The receptionist, even though he ostensibly possessed a penis and a supply of God-given testosterone had a voice that Ethan would swear was an octave above that of Miss Beverly Sills. "I have met, like, so many guys on this site. I have, like, a jillion dates lined up. I don't know how I'm going to find time to come into work!"

The receptionist and the payroll clerk did what seemed to be a carefully choreographed twitter duet. Ethan stared at his screen, moving a queen onto a king, and listened as the receptionist waxed rhapsodic about an online dating site he had found. He had shrieked that it "wasn't like all the others," that it "was more than just for quick hook-ups, like so many of those sites, okay?" and that it was simply, "a lonely girl's best friend."

That was all Ethan needed to hear. Well, no, actually, that was not all. And even though Ethan could stand no more Spider Solitaire or Free Cell and was more than ready to call it an honest day's work, he had to sit in his cubicles for twenty minutes more while "Bubbles" (as he secretly called the receptionist) prattled on about this wondrous—and apparently no-name—dating site. Finally, frustrated, and absolutely unable to endure one more hand of Hearts, Ethan stood and peered over the wall.

Almost immediately, the blond receptionist swiveled his head around to peer at Ethan. "Yes?" he hissed.

The payroll clerk, a portly woman of Latina heritage, eyed him with suspicion. Together, they both seemed to be saying, "How dare you interrupt us?" with their eyes.

Ethan applied his most sheepish grin and began to stammer, "Sorry to interrupt but I couldn't help but overhear what you were saying…you know, about that dating site. But I didn't catch the name of it."

The blond and the Latina exchanged knowing glances and Ethan, even though he would never claim psychic abilities, could read their minds quite well, thank you. They were telepathically saying:
"And who does Miss Mary over there think she is?" Bubbles asked.

Latina replied, "I don't know, but if she thinks she's going to have the same kind of success that you did just because she logs on, she better think again."


"Hello?" Bubbles was staring at Ethan, head quizzically cocked, and Ethan grinned, realizing he had let his imagination run away with him. He may have just missed his only chance to learn the name of the dating site in question, the one that apparently had men lining up for the affections of a nelly nineteen-year-old who probably didn't weigh more than a hundred pounds sopping wet and whose dubious intellect most likely rivaled that of a Chihuahua.

"Sorry? I missed that." Ethan felt heat rising from his neck to his face.

Bubbles closed his eyes and held them shut for a beat to indicate his distaste for, and impatience with, his coworker. Speaking slowly, as if he were talking to someone hearing-impaired, Bubbles enunciated carefully, "The name of the site is"

The Latina held a hand over her mouth to artlessly—and unsuccessfully—hide her giggles. Ethan noticed her nails were shellacked a lurid red, topped with dragon designs, and so long they were curving back at the top. And this woman managed to handle the challenges of a computer keyboard?

"Oh, okay," Ethan said, staring down once more at his monitor, which had gone to a screensaver of Barbara Stanwyck movie posters. Sorry, Wrong Number seemed like an apt title to be up at the moment. Ethan may have not been possessed of a dazzling intellect, but even he knew when his leg was being unkindly pulled. He had just sat back down and was powering off when Bubbles' voice fluttered over the beige partition. "It's wing people dot com."

Ethan perked up. "That's a funny name. Where did they come up with that?"

"How should I know?" There was silence as the Latina presumably walked away and Bubbles returned to his own game of Solitaire, miffed at being disturbed when it was so obvious he was hard at work.

"I'll let you know how it all works out for me." Ethan gathered up his messenger bag and Levi jacket and stood to make his exit.

Bubbles, from behind him, mumbled, "Whatever."

Jesus, Ethan thought, I'm like Rodney Dangerfield. I get no respect. As he rode down in the elevator, he wondered who he would find on Certainly, if they had certified Bubbles a hit, they would view someone like Ethan as a prize, even a force of brute masculinity. Relatively speaking, anyway.

Making his way out the door onto a bustling, rush-hour Belmont Avenue, Ethan also was curious about the name Was it because they were angels, delivering poor unloved souls like himself from their individual wells of loneliness?
Author website:

Monday, December 22, 2008

Holy Communion A Novel excerpt by Mykola Dementiuk

HOLY COMMUNION is a rite-of-passage novel that follows a seven-year-old's first communion preparations and celebration. Throughout the four-day period the boy deals with cruel nuns, sadistic babysitters, his mother's unfortunate accident,a drunken father, plus a pedophile or two, but he finds a way to cope in the midst of so much tragedy -- first by indifference, later by defiance and rebellion. He also discovers that his urban surroundings in New York City give him autonomy, comfort, and satisfaction. HOLY COMMUNION is full of the boy's despair and self-questioning, along with author Mykola Dementiuk's powerful insights into the human condition.

Holy Communion A Novel
Synergy Press 2008 (August 1, 2008)
ISBN: 0975858149


The boy bounded into the dim cubicle and the door slammed behind him. He focused his eyes to the hazy darkness, and saw a contorted figure of Jesus hung from a crucifix on the wall. The booth seemed more like a hopeless coffin than a redeeming confessional. It was stifling; the air heavy and stagnant, smelling like a fart. One would come to this booth not to reveal, but to hide. There was no prospect of salvation here.

The boy knelt and stared at the grille before him. The dim figure of the priest was visible through the pale yellowish grille; he was softly intoning to himself. The boy made the sign of the cross.

“Bless me, Father, for I have sinned,” he whispered. “This is my first confession and these are the sins I have committed.”

His voice was dry and hesitant. He felt afraid and did not want to be here. He wanted his mother. He wanted to get away from this dark dreadful booth before everything became a lie.

He began a recital of the sins that came to mind. He told the priest of some early lies he had told his parents (where he had not been and who he was not with), and the time he glanced over and spotted a different spelling of a test word on a neighbor’s exam paper and wrote it on his own (it turned out to be wrong), of some chalk he had stolen from the blackboard and marked up the building wall across from school (someone else was blamed), of the girl he had struck seated behind him (this only because the old priest had witnessed him do so).

He whispered how bad he was and that he was sorry he had hurt Jesus and he wanted so much for God to take away his sins and forgive him. He also wanted to scream and protest that it was not his fault, that he did not know why these things were happening, why everything was going wrong. He wanted to shout that his mother was in the hospital, that he made in his pants, that he was not allowed on the class trip, that a man had kissed him, that girls did things to him, that his father was drunk and did things to his godmother.

Oh, he wanted to tell of things that were hurting him, that were pushing and pulling him away from the people who were confusing and tormenting him. He wanted God — Oh, please, Jesus! — to come and ease him, to stroke his head in love, to make him a good boy. He wanted to cry out and tell everything: the sins, the lies, the truth.

He grimaced and jerked and doubled over and clutched his belly as a trickle of urine escaped his penis, running down his leg. He crouched on his knees, his face beaded in sweat, and rocked back and forth. At any moment he would no longer be able to hold it in and it would erupt in his pants.

He looked about him. Beneath the prie-dieu on which he knelt a plush red carpet lined the booth. He glanced at the figure behind the grille, then un-zippered his pants and pulled out his penis and began to urinate against the wall of the confessional. The liquid spewed refreshingly out and ran down to the carpet. He felt calm and relaxed.

On the other side the priest began his homily to the boy, telling him, by rote, the importance of penance and redemption. The boy felt at peace, relieved, all anxiety having left him.

He strained and pushed out a few remaining drops, then zippered his pants and surveyed the room. The urine had spread to the carpet beneath the prie-dieu but the darkness of the confessional hid the stain from showing too readily. A warm brothy smell hovered about the dingy booth. The boy crossed himself and thanked the priest for his benediction, then glanced indifferently at the carpet and exited the room.

He did not look at the girls on line but walked briskly to the front of the church and joined the group of scattered children kneeling before the altar and saying their penance. He wondered how long he should remain kneeling and pretend to pray for forgiveness. He had not heard what the priest told him to do to atone for his sins, and he wasn’t certain what exactly was required of him.

He crossed himself and bowed his head. A boy kneeling nearby rose and walked away. How long had he been there? He recited an Our Father to himself. Too short. He said another one. Two Hail Marys wouldn’t hurt. He saw another boy rise and depart. He was certain the boy had come to the altar after him. He recited one more Hail Mary, then crossed himself and walked away.

He spotted the nun. She stood in the center aisle, next to the few remaining children in the quickly emptying pews, sternly surveying the constant movement of the other children throughout the church. The boy bowed his head and walked quietly down the aisle. The weaving bottom of the nun’s black habit and the cracked leather toes of her worn black shoes appeared in a corner of his eyes. He walked past and was almost free of the vision when she suddenly grabbed and spun him around.

“Do you still have to go to the bathroom or have you made in your pants?” the
nun bellowed and shook his shoulder.

“No, Sister,” he stammered.

“No, what?”

“I don’t have to go,” he said quietly.

The nun stooped down and groped between his legs. He squirmed and tried to break away, but she held him tightly. “Just make sure you behave until tomorrow,” she hissed, and slapped him on his backside, propelling him away from her.

He shoved past the gawking children and rushed to the rear, pushing open the heavy doors of the dark church. Sunlight struck his wet eyes. Behind him a girl squealed in disgust and a din arose from the few remaining girls on line. He turned and saw a girl pointing at the floor of the confessional he had been in as the nun raced down the aisle. His eyes widened, and he turned and bolted through the door, leaping down the steep church steps.

He darted past a few lingering children at the bottom of the steps and ran up the street, legs and arms pumping, his lungs aching, his bruised chest hurting and pulsing, but his cadence smooth and even, till the church was far behind him.

Monday, December 15, 2008

Angel Land excerpt by Victor J Banis

Late in the 21st Century—ravaged by the deadly Sept virus, the one time United States has disintegrated into The Fundamental Christian Territories, where Catholics, Baptists and Jews are registered as heretics, and gays are herded into walled ghettos: The Zones of Perversion.

Harvey Milk Walton, a runner, finds his way to the ghetto in Angel Land, oldest of the territories, where a legend says that his long ago martyred namesake will return one day to lead his people to freedom—but even to speak of freedom, of leaving the FTC, is punishable by death.

In a crumbling totalitarian society, where evil masquerades as piety, two men fall in love and begin to dream of escape—from Angel Land.

Angel Land
Publisher: Quest (Regal Crest) (November 10, 2008)
ISBN-10: 1935053051


The ultimate Family Value vacation!
Ride replicas of the legendary cable cars “halfway to the stars.”
See—close up—the Bridge of the Golden Gate, once crossed by motor cars*
See the actual ocean, in absolute safety—no bio-hazards
Visit an authentic restored “Frisco Watering Hole” of the Gay 90s
Religious services every hour, every day. Baptisms 24 hours
Plus—Tour free from unsightly perverts or homeless

Angel Land—your paradise on earth!

Fundamental Christian Values strictly enforced!
No alcohol**, drugs or non-marital sexual activities
All Catholics, Jews and all other heretics must be properly registered.
All tattoos must be prominently displayed at all times.

*For safety reasons, viewing distance appr. 1.2 miles. Actual bridge cannot be entered.
**Holy Spirits, the FCT’s own beer, available at selected locations

Travel arrangements by Halo There, the official travel agency of the FCT.
Travel brochure printed by permission of the Council of Churches, Ord. 3010a, petition on file

* * *

A MUTT. A stray, Dell told herself. Cute, Chip had said when he reported the stranger. Cute? Well, okay, even in the dim light she could see what might have caught Chip’s eye, but aside from that, this character had all the appeal of a sewer rat. And smelled about as nice.
“Rise and shine,” she said. “Open up your peepers.”
He continued to pretend like he was asleep. Damn it all, now Chip was giving him that toothy grin, you would think they’d invited this joker in for tea.
“Let’s try it this way: if you don’t rise pretty quick,” she said in her best Big Daddy voice, “I’m going to shine your peepers.”
That got a response. He opened his baby-blues—brown, actually, flecked with glints of gold—and turned himself right side up. “Hi,” he said. “Who are you?”
“I’m Chip,” Chip said, flashing the broken tooth again. “She’s Dell. Delta, but everyone calls her Dell.”
“The question is, who are you?” she asked.
“Harvey,” he said. He extended a hand, which she ignored. “Harvey Milk Walton. Pleased to meet you.”
Chip shot her a quick glance. She knew what he was thinking. Harvey Milk was a gay savior who had been assassinated a century or more earlier. There was a legend among Angel Land’s gays that he would come back one day to lead them to freedom.
A sweet story, but so far there had been at least a dozen of those Messiahs, all cashing in to make a few bucks in contributions before they disappeared, leading no one anywhere. She was still here, wasn’t she? She was willing to bet this one was another opportunist. And probably a runner, which meant they’d be looking for him. That could be trouble for the whole building if they found him here. For the whole Zone, even.
“Where are you from?”
He batted his eyes. “Right here. Our friendly neighborhood ghetto.”
“Don’t try to dick me,” she said. “I was born with a dildo in each hand, and I know every queen in this ghetto.”
Tall, big, with an arm gallery of tattoo art above the number and the green star on her wrist, she was an imposing presence, an effect she cultivated. She held a garden hoe in her right hand like a staff of office. As a weapon it was better than the batons the Lays carried. She had once cracked a skull open with it to end a fight. In her left hand she held her keys, an enormous ring of keys that she often jingled to emphasize a point. She gave her hip a bang with the ring and the keys jangled noisily.
“You’ll talk straight with me or I’ll turn you over to the gate guards. Let them ask the questions, if you’d like that better.”
Apparently he wouldn’t. The eyelashes stopped fluttering. “My name really is Harvey Milk Walton. I’m from Eden.”
“A runner,” Chip said. His chipped tooth disappeared with his grin.
“I’m a Born,” Harvey Milk Walton said.
Which was even worse, in her book. Anyone, even a homo, could be a Born Again. You took a vow to obey in all ways the Minister you were assigned to, until such a time as the Minister was willing to testify that you had “seen the light,” a day which for most Borns never came. Technically it was a voluntary matter, but troublemakers were often given a choice of camp or Born Again, and she had heard of Ministers who liked to “volunteer” attractive young women and sometimes young men. The Minister’s job was to educate his disciple in the niceties of Fundie religion. The Born’s job was to serve the Minister’s every whim, of whatever nature, twenty-four hours a day.
“A slave, in other words,” she said aloud, which was what it came down to.
He shrugged. “Look at it this way: if you had a choice of ‘Down in the Valley’ or down in the mines, which would you pick? My Minister’s name was Crow, by the way. I’ll let you work out the pun for yourself.”
She made an elaborate show of looking to the right and the left. “Is Minister Crow with you this morning?” she asked. Legally, a Born out in public had to be in his Minister’s company at all times. No exceptions.
“He had an accident. He’s dead.”
Chip jumped back as if someone had nipped his yum-yums. “You killed your Minister?” he stammered. He gave Dell a frightened look. “He killed his Minister. He’ll be number one on the Hit Parade. Every Lay in Angel Land will be hot on his trail.”
“I didn’t kill him. It was an accident.”
She liked this less and less. “What kind of accident?” she asked.
“We were…well, we came up on hols. We were at this inn, in the lav. He was, you know, he was worked up.”
“Worked up?”
“He was getting close. Close to going off. You know what going off means, don’t you?”
“Don’t get snotty, you’ll only live to regret it.” She rattled the keys again. “What were you doing?”
“I was darning his socks,” he said. “I was on my knees. What do you think I was doing?”
Even she had to admit she had asked for that one. She made a placating gesture with her hands. “Okay, that was a dumb question. So there you are, darning his socks, and he’s arriving, as they say, and then what happened?”
“Well, the thing was, he was practically there and he wasn’t going to pull out. You know how you can tell when they aren’t…well, maybe you wouldn’t know, but I can always tell, and I knew he wasn’t going to, even though he’d promised…

* * *

I CAN ALWAYS tell, and he wasn’t going to, promise or no promise. Now, I like a treat as well as the next one, but it depended, needless to say, on who you were doing this with or to, and Minister Crow’s flabby little pee-pee was no one’s idea of a turn on. I had so far managed to convince him that I had never gone that far and didn’t care to, and up until this time, he had respected my feelings about that, if sometimes only just—I’d had a lot of his sap on my cheeks and on my chin and even in my eyes.
This time, however, I was one hundred percent certain that he meant to up the ante. So I did the only sensible thing. I bit him. Hard. That is one thing always guaranteed to spoil the fun. His fun, anyway, since I wasn’t having any to begin with.
He squealed like a sinner in the stocks and jerked back, his little preacher-boy bobbing about in front of my face. I could see that I had drawn blood and even though I knew I was in serious trouble, I have to admit it gave me a little bit of pleasure—the first real pleasure I’d ever gotten out of these interludes with Minister Crow, which just proves you can always get some satisfaction out of anything if you really sink your teeth into it.
“You accursed boy,” he shouted. Well, in fact, he said a couple of other things first, but no need to get into them. He was a Minister, after all, and no one can cuss like a Minister, if you ask me. Anyway, he brought his hand back to hit me, and he stepped back to give himself some more purchase. Which is to say, he really meant to give me a Sunday school lesson. I closed my eyes tight and braced myself.
Only, the thing was, the floor was wet—I’m not going to get into that—and his tights were down around his ankles, so instead of actually stepping back, he took a hop or two—and lost his balance. He went end over with a loud whoop. There was a thunk and a thud, and he hit the floor in front of me with a wheeze of expelled breath.
For a long time I stayed where I was, on my knees, eyes squeezed shut, and waited for him to get up and start hollering and swinging. He didn’t, however. He didn’t do anything. The silence was scary. After a minute or so, I opened one eye and peeked. The first thing I saw was this crimson puddle spreading around his head.
Nothing. I crawled forward on my knees and put a tentative hand on his shoulder. “Minister?” I said again. Still nothing. I gave the shoulder a shake. So far I had tried not to look him in the face, but I knew I was going to have to.
“Oh, poop,” I said aloud. His eyes were open. I didn’t need a Medical Worker to tell me they weren’t seeing me—weren’t seeing anything, in fact, and weren’t going to see anything ever again, not this side of the river.
I got up. My knees were shaking and sore from kneeling on that hard floor, and I rubbed them and stared at him and tried to think what to do. Like, was I going to call downstairs and say, “My Minister is dead up here?” The birds may not always nest in my tree but that didn’t sound to me like the smartest thing to do.
My heart was dancing a jig inside my chest. It got worse the longer I stared at him, and finally I went into the other room. At least there I didn’t have to see him.
What I saw instead was this big jug of wine that I had forgotten all about. He had ordered it sent up when we first got there. (You didn’t really think all Fundies were dry, did you?) It was bootleg, of course, nasty stuff, tasted like horse pee to tell the truth. Not that I would actually know, understand, that’s just an expression my Auntie used to use.
Still, if it was horse pee it must have come from a real stallion. I made a face and chugged down a big swig right from the bottle. Nasty or not, it helped. My heart stopped banging against my ribs and my breath slowed down to a string of mere gasps.
I poured some into a glass, parked my bare behind on the carpet and drank. After a while, I forgot about the dead Minister in the lav. By that time the bottle was empty. I turned over on my side, snatched a pillow from the bed, and went to sleep.
When I finally came to, it was close to dawn, the sun threatening to appear any minute. My head was about to explode and my mouth tasted like a whole platoon of Lays had used it for a crapper. I went into the bathroom, hoping maybe I’d just had a nightmare, but he was still there. The puddle around his noggin was dry and brown by now. One hand had landed in the crapper when he fell, and when I lifted it out to take a pee it was as cold as an Elder’s heart.
What was I going to do? Leaving your Minister to sleep on the lav floor for a night was not considered good form. Leaving him there dead was seriously rude.
I decided to take a shower to clear my head and also to give me some time to think. It helped my head but I still didn’t know what to do, so I went back into the other room and tried the wine bottle. It was still empty.
Outside the window the sky was growing lighter. Somewhere nearby a bird chattered. On the street below, a U worker—“ewes,” they called them, the lowest ranking members of the territorial society—swept the sidewalk. A coffee vendor washed his urns, getting ready for business.
I stood for a long moment looking down on the murky streets of Angel Land. We had only arrived the night before. I hadn’t had a chance yet to see anything of the town. Odds were, I might never get another chance, either.
I went for a walk.

Monday, December 8, 2008

I Spy Something Bloody excerpt by Josh Lanyon

This excerpt is from Chapter 1 of I Spy Something Bloody by Josh Lanyon.

Espionage was always a game, but now British spy Mark Hardwicke wants to retire and settle down with ex-lover Dr. Stephen Thorpe -- if Stephen will have him. Unfortunately, Stephen has other plans -- and so do the terrorists who want Mark dead.

I Spy Something Bloody
Publisher - Loose Id (June, 2008)
ISBN - 978-1-59632-710-8


Chapter One

The telephone rang and rang. I stared through the window glass of the phone box at rugged green moorland and the distant snaggletoothed remains of a prehistoric circle. The rolling open hills of Devon looked blue and barren against the rain-washed sky. I’d read somewhere they’d filmed The Hound of the Baskervilles around here. It looked like a good day for a hellhound to be out and about, prowling the eerie ruins and chasing virgin squeak toys to their deaths.

To the north were the military firing zones, silent this afternoon.

The phone continued to ring -- a faraway jangle on the other end of the line.

I closed my eyes for a moment. It felt years since I’d really slept. The glass was cool against my forehead. Why had I come back? What had I hoped to accomplish? It wasn’t as though Barry Shelton and I had been best mates. He’d been a colleague. Quiet, tough, capable. I’d known a lot of Barry Sheltons through the years. Their faces all ran together. Just another anonymous young man -- like me.

He died for nothing. A pointless, stupid, violent death. For nothing!

I could still hear Shelton’s mother screaming at me, blaming me. Why not? It was as much my fault as anyone’s. It didn’t matter. I wasn’t exactly the sensitive type. Neither had been Shelton. The only puzzle was why I’d imagined the news would come better from me. Wasn’t even my style, really, dropping in on the widows and orphans and Aged Ps. That kind of thing was much better handled by the Old Man.

My leg was aching. And my ribs. Rain ticked against the glass. I opened my eyes. The wet-dark road was wide and empty. I could see miles in either direction. All clear. The wind whistled forlornly through the places where the door didn’t join snugly; a mournful tune like a melody played on the tula.

Unexpectedly, the receiver was picked up. A deep voice -- with just that hint of Virginia accent -- said against my ear, “Stephen Thorpe.”

I hadn’t expected to be so moved by just the sound of his voice. Funny really, although laughter was the furthest thing from me. My throat closed and I had to work to get anything out.

“It’s Mark,” I managed huskily, after too long a pause.


He was there, though. I could hear the live and open stillness on the other end of the line. “Stephen?” I said.

“What did you want, Mark?” he asked quietly. Too quietly.

“I’m in trouble.” It was a mistake. I knew that the instant I said it. I should be apologizing, wooing him, not begging for help, not compounding my many errors. My hand clenched the receiver so hard my fingers felt numb. “Stephen?”

“I’m listening.”

“Can I come home?”

He said without anger, “This isn’t your home.”

My heart pounded so hard I could hardly hear over the hollow thud. My mouth felt gummy-dry, the way it used to before an op. A long time ago. I licked my lips. No point arguing now. No time. I said, “I…don’t have anywhere else to go.”

Not his problem. I could hear him thinking it. And quite rightly.

He said with slow finality, “I don’t think that coming here would be a good idea, Mark.”

I didn’t blame him. And I wasn’t surprised. Not really. But surprised or not, it still hurt like hell. More than I expected. I’d been prepared to play desperate; it was a little shock to realize I didn’t have to play. My voice shook as I said, “Please, Stephen. I wouldn’t ask if it -- please.”

Nothing but the crackling emptiness of the open line. I feared he would hang up, that this tenuous connection would be lost -- and then I would be lost. Stranded here at the ends of the Earth where bleak sky fused into wind-scoured wilderness.

Where the only person I knew was Barry Shelton’s mother.

I opened my mouth -- Stephen had once said I could talk him into anything -- but I was out of arguments. Too tired to make them even if I’d known the magic words. All that came out was a long, shuddering sigh.

I don’t know if Stephen heard it all the way across the Atlantic, but after another heartbeat he said abruptly, “All right then. Come.”

I replaced the receiver very carefully and pushed open the door. The wind was cold against my face, laced with rain. Rain and a hint of the distant sea; I could taste the salty wet on my lips.

Loose Id

Monday, December 1, 2008

The Poems of Dorien Grey excerpt by Roger Margason

From Dorien Grey's chapbook of poems. He hopes with this chapbook of poetry to share with you, the reader, not only his own experiences and views, but to touch chords of memory and empathy within yourself. And just as Dorien is part of his originator, Dorien hopes that you might come away from these poems feeling as though you are a part of him.

The Poems of Dorien Grey
GLB Publishers (2002)

Fate: The Boy With the Poppyseed Buns

It was just break of day in the Spanish Café,
the time when the first church bell tolls.
My tongue painted brown from a night on the town,
I’d stopped in for some coffee and rolls.

The place was renowned for the best food in town,
it’s pastries were lighter than air.
I’d arrived just last night on the Calcutta flight,
and was hungry for non-curried fare.

As the blaze of the day spread throughout the café
with the stealth of the incoming tide,
a form appeared in the doorway
not even the sunlight could hide.

His silhouette carved out of sunbeams
cast a cool shadow ‘cross the rough floor.
I fought the sun’s glare as I squinted to stare,
knowing somehow I had to see more.

I made out a young man about twenty,
with a face like an archangel’s song.
A youth of such exquisite beauty,
it sounded my heart like a gong.

Short hair black as night framed a skin smooth and light,
and eyes deeper blue than the sky.
Beautiful men? Seen again and again,
but none who so made my heart sigh.

He stepped to the bakery counter;
in a voice that could warm up dead suns
he asked the flour-flecked baker
for an order of poppyseed buns.

His eyes swept the room’s few, blank faces
and settled, at last, on my own.
His mouth curved into a slight smile
that few mortal men can have known.

I sat there as if struck by lightning,
his beauty had riveted me so.
Before I could regain my senses,
he picked up his package to go.

I wanted to get up to follow;
to not let him out of the door.
I wanted to say: “Won’t you sit? Won’t you stay?”
But my feet were as nailed to the floor.

He paused briefly, there in the doorway,
and turned to me with a slight nod
And then he was gone and I sat in the dawn
and cursed an insensitive God.

I rose to my feet and rushed into the street,
but the young man was nowhere in sight.
It was if he had gone with the just-vanished dawn,
leaving me in perpetual night.

His smile still casts beams that light up my dreams;
his eyes I can never forget.
Of all men I’ve had, many good, many bad,
it’s his face that stays with me yet.

I’ve run with the bulls in Pamplona,
I’ve scaled mountains in far-off Napal;
I’ve found buried treasure worth wealth beyond measure,
but I lost the best treasure of all.

I’ve seen tigers at play down in old Mandalay,
fought duels with sabers and guns...
But I’d trade it away for just one quiet day
with the boy with the poppyseed buns.