31 Flavors

31 flavors of posting in 31 days, well 29 for me as I missed two of them, and now it’s done. Some of those flavors were humorous, I hope, some downright maudlin, that’s life, all of them a slice – a flavor of my everyday.  I had my fingers crossed tight for this year, very tight.

In previous years I did not make it past the halfway mark before I threw in the towel. Granted some of my posting this month was rubbish and only submitted so I can say I posted a slice. So yes, I am honestly proud of myself  for having made it to the end with only two missing days. Those who follow my blog know last week was especially taxing for me. I was literally posting my slices minutes before, if not the at, the stroke of midnight, but I got them in. Yay!

A friend posted this to her wall in Facebook and I thought it very apropos to my current mood as this month, this year’s writing challenge ends…


So now March is done and I return to the regular weekly slices on Tuesday, but no rest for the wicked! Tomorrow is April 1st and thus begins National Poetry Writing Month! 30 more days of flavors because I’m a glutton for punishment and prose.

And again I’m crossing my fingers tight on that.


Day 31!!!! Congratulations to my fellow slicers who made it to the end!



Can You Feel It

I was reminded of a word I’ve rarely seen in use, but have known for quite time now Duende.

At its most basic definition, duende is used to describe a mythical, sprite like entity that possesses humans and creates the feeling of awe of one’s surroundings in nature.

“Beautiful doesn’t begin to describe it. A flower is beautiful. But this is beautiful the way that a person is beautiful – terrifying with its jagged edges, yet seductive with its crevices that hide so many secrets.”

The author of the above spoke of the Grand Canyon. Suffice it to say that moment was duende in the traditional sense.

Like most such words duende’s meaning has evolved over time and now mostly refers to the mysterious power that a work of art has to deeply move a person.

The phrase “work of art” loosely infers painting and sculpture. I would like to expand that definition to also include the use of words – written, spoken or sung. Have even read a poem or a passage in a novel that gave you pause? Heard a song, lyrical or instrumental, that moved you deeply?


To those of you who know, and like I cannot resist, the drum solo of Phil Collins “In the Air” that pull you feel in your core
— when you hear those opening notes?
— that make you stop everything and raise your imaginary drum sticks in anticipation?
— and even if it’s only in your mind, that pull you feel before you let loose…?

That’s Duende darlings, in its modern sense.

When you feel it to your core, when it makes you stop

Stop to look, stop to hear, stop to touch, and if the work of art is food, stop to smell and taste it.  When it makes time, and you, stop – it’s duende.

So I task you with this today, that which moves you, natural or man-made – go find it. Spend a few moments to feel it to your core and just enjoy it.


Day 30 – the next to the last day of this challenge – let’s see how my fellow slicers are faring through it….


You Like Me!

Last week was one bummer of a week for me to say the least. Today being Easter Sunday  I was determined to resurrect myself from the understandably maudlin mood . Luckily for me, movie and dinner were already in the works for today and thus went out and enjoyed myself. On my way home from an already enjoyable day, I run into someone I had not seen in years and we reconnected.  And just when I think today couldn’t get any better, I get home log in and find this:



Yes, there are other bloggers who reached this milestone in a few months, what has taken a few years for me. I realize this only reflects my fellow WordPress bloggers who follow me and does not take into account those of you on Blogger/Blogspot and other blogging sites who pressed that button I labeled Follow me more nearly. (Yes, it and the other button on my sidebar, reference the song “Day By Day” from “Godspell”.) Not going to lie, this made me smile.

Since February 2010 500+ of you thought enough of whatever post you were reading to want to read more. When something I didn’t think I’d do more than a couple of years reached that first 100 follows I was honestly surprised. This has me floored. That the running streams of consciousness from my mind that form commentary, poems, flash fiction and Verbal Diarrhea Diaries connect with a handful of you out there was more than I could ask for. I am so very appreciative that you ask for more it by following.

For that I sincerely thank you all. I hope I can continue to make you laugh, cry, think and overall feel.  As I wrote on my very first post:

I thank you for taking the leap of faith and riding with me.

Day 27 – we’re in the final stretch –
Let’s see how the other slicers got through this Easter Sunday…


Day 27 of the 9th Annual Slice of Life Story Challenge – Two Writing Teachers  

And Done

I attended my last wake/funeral for the week today. I wish I could say for the year, but it’s only March. The odds are highly against that.

The service was held at a funeral parlor that I have visited a few times before. A part of me was vexed that I knew exactly how to get to the ladies room.  When I thought about it, I realized I knew the exact location of the ladies room of at least two other funeral homes. I mean, who expects to be that familiar with a funeral home if you don’t work there? Definitely, been to too many funerals.

Each death is different, each funeral is not the same, yet there are commonalities. The service, the internment, the repast. Like weddings that join us – these are the ties that also bind people. And I’m …

Actually, I don’t know what I am.

Other than I’m tired. I’m mentally rambling. I’m done.


Sorry this is as good as it gets today, I’m going to bed…


Minus One

Two children – a boy and a girl are born seven  months apart. Their respective mothers  were good friends and neighbors a few houses apart. The kids grew up through grade school together, racking each other up, ratting each other out in turns, as kids are wont to do. Forced together due to their parents, a friendship that was sometimes rebelled, sometimes rejoiced, slowly forged as times  goes by.  If they were not in each other’s company, the running joke throughout growing up was they were invariably asked “Aren’t you minus one?”

Daughter: Mama, how did Daddy propose?

Mother: I had started dating Robbie Matthews and when it looked like it might be getting serious it pissed your daddy right off.  How dare I start to fall in love with someone else because he was taking too long? So few days before he is set off to war he shows up for dinner. And as we always went back and forth between his mama’s house and ours we thought nothing of it. He says almost nothing to me the whole meal, a dozen people in the house, it was normal – thought nothing of it. When he, your grandfather and your uncles go off as Mama, Sissy and I clean up – again thought nothing of it. A spell later he walks into the kitchen as I’m drying dishes and tosses something shiny at me. While I scramble to catch it he says “Listen you, so you know I’m heading out on Tuesday. I just done asked your daddy, so put this dang ring on ’cause you know I’m minus one without you and if I ain’t coming back to you, I ain’t coming back. I’m not having it.”  He then turns on his heel and starts walking out the door.  

Daughter: Daddy!

Father: Please! She threw a spoon so hard at the back of my head I nearly tripped. The whole time yelling “And you better come back to me ’cause I’m not gonna be minus one either – you hear me you bastard? Come back to me – I’m not having it!”  In front of her own mama nonetheless! So I picked up the spoon and brought it back to her, got down on one knee, put the ring on her finger, got my kiss and walked out.

He heard her.

It took a few decades, but that same boy and girl build, and live, a long life through a war, a marriage, a house, children, a move from rural to city life, more children and then grand children together.  It wasn’t always easy as they tried and survived each vow, comfort – honor – richer –  poorer – sickness – health. Yet other than the years he served the navy, they were rarely more than a week apart from each other.

Then one morning the boy woke up.

And the girl didn’t.

They had known each other since babies. Nine decades in this world together and for the first time in his life he walked on an earth without her in it.

Two mornings later he joined her.

I was within earshot when his youngest daughter rhetorically asked how he could pass in his sleep two days after his wife. I had the answer:

“He was minus one without her. He wasn’t having it.”


At the next to the last funeral this week, this was the story I told, more or less, before reading the official obituary.


It’s Friday – it’s Good Friday – let’s see what’s slicing for this holy weekend…



…the day gets away from you.

With this week of back-to-back death for me, after work I’ve spent the past couple of days reconnecting with the living around me. Today especially, as my best friend and I carved out some much-needed time with each other.

While I wish I had carved out more time for me to post, even if I had missed it all together, today I would not regret it.


Hope my fellow slicers had an equally rewarding day…



Too late…

In less than a minute from contact the infection took hold of her as nanites crawled from inside her irises to cover her entire body.

He watched in silent shock at the transformation.

Bringing her to the very height of her beauty; the nanites slowed for only the briefest of moments, showing him everything thing she could ever be physically and by God was she stunning! He gasped in awe at her absolute perfection, the cruel, cruel taunt displayed before him as she gave him a glimmer of her classic smile. A smile he inwardly knew was not real, yet he was as mesmerized by it now as he was when she was alive.
Though yards away he started to reach out to her, to touch her, when the vicious nanites true job finally kicked in. Her momentarily perfect eyes implode in on itself as though a fine, blacker than black silt were being sucked into an even blacker than black hole.
Only then did it occur to him to run, before the nanites sensed his own body, when he saw the first hint of blackness encircle the fingertip of his still outstretched hand.
Too late…
A guy sitting across from me on the train had absolutely filthy nails.  My muse took a wicked flight of fancy as one of his finger tips looked like something alien was slowly devouring it. Amidst my repulsion, and fascination on how a relatively clean looking person can have such crusty nails, this whole scenario above happened in that most dangerous of places – my mind.
Let’s  hope my fellow slicers are having a more benign mental state – check them out…


The attacks in Brussels, like the attacks in Paris strike a chord the world over. As a commuter the subway attack in particular frightens me.

One of the several pet names for my hometown is City of Bridges.  Most know at least two of the six major bridges, the George Washington,  Robert F. Kennedy, Edward I. Koch, Williamsburg, Manhattan and Brooklyn Bridges.  What most people don’t know or think about, including my fellow denizens, is that for all of those bridges that rise over the waterways, only a couple of them have trains. That means buried deep in the ground under those same waterways are the tunnels of the NYC subway lines.  Thus my daily work commute involves crossing a river at two different points each morning and each  evening.  That’s four times a day a large body of water is above my head. And there but for the Grace, go I. As a person who does not know how to swim, I try very hard to not think about those times when my train is underwater. Thus why when I hear of attacks on subways, a part of me gets frightened.

Even if the terrorists strike on land, what is there to stop the tremors of the impact from  travelling down the length of said tunnel and causing the crack. The small unseen, unassuming crack that becomes the leak, that becomes the gushing river suddenly filling the tunnel faster than my non-swimming legs can run for it. If you have seen the 90’s movie Daylight, with Sylvester Stallone, that is my not-so-secret-nightmare.

Luckily, my lifelong New Yorker status, and my ability to mentally block things I can do nothing about enables me to travel to and fro in peace without (much) of a worry for such things.

Then Brussels happens, so far away physically and yet so close today …

My thoughts go out to the 30+ confirmed deceased, the many more wounded and the countless now scared the globe over as countries debate whether to elevate security threat  levels.

And for a moment my thoughts go to the train I need to take home this evening.


Let’s go check out my fellow slicers:


Day 22 of the 9th Annual Slice of Life Story Challenge!  


Be Not Proud

Most of us are familiar with the saying “Death comes in threes”. That nasty coincidence of the moment you learn of a person’s death, two more deaths tend to occur in rapid succession. “Rapid” being relative to the potentially bereaved of corse. Nevertheless, it seems Thanatos’ abacus is a bit off as of late. I mean think of the swath of musicians taken from the earth twit December and January, this past winter. It felt as if Death was working in multiples of three then. Was he bored then? Geesh. Clearly, he was equally as bored these past few days for me.

I sit here this evening trying to wrap my head around the fact that there are six wakes/funerals in my horizon. Between tomorrow and Saturday, six of them.


I cannot process this plethora of back to back death, I cannot attend all of them for my own sanity. Realistically, for the ones I will not attend, I was not close with the respective families. If pressed, one or two may remember me from one gathering or another, but really no will miss my presence among them,  but me. For the services I will attend. It’s a funeral, can’t really say much else.

Six people who I know personally, have died within the past six days.

It is too much.

Thanatos, seriously dude, get a hobby.


I’m sure most of my fellow slicers are fairing much better – so go check them out:


Day 21 of the 9th Annual Slice of Life Story Challenge!