08 August 2009

Hint Fiction Submissions

Nursing his shattered hand, Johnson struggled to pull in more sail. The growing waves powered over the rail, steadily filling his long dreamed of yacht.

Filial Piety
The soft and jagged moaning from his mother's room would not distract Andrew from preparing her lunchtime tray-orange juice, soft-boiled eggs, and many, many pills.

Twelve Steps
Staring into the tumbler of amber liquid, Thomas came to the realiztion he'd awaited. “There is no higher power,” he told himself as he sipped.

Submit your own hint fiction at http://www.robertswartwood.com/?page_id=8. Deadline Aug. 15.

Her Temperature Seemed To Have Frozen At 99.8℉

(perhaps it was the thermometer but, looking back, I don't think so)

and our fevers rolled between us.

Our bones, by themselves, became an aching groan

with spooky dreams all day, every day.

Those marks, then, on the palms of my hands

I began to consider a kind of stigmata

and thrilled at the tracings of blood they left

on this woman's body

the line from breast through waist and hip

that scattered into the smear I had made around her vagina.

"Do that again," I told her.

"Do that a lot."

And panting on elbows and knees

a mask of lipstick and saliva and threads of my own semen

crawled underneath my eyes

I buried my hands inside her bedclothes,

each fist a growing evidence of fear and faith.

07 August 2009

Snow at a Bad Time

I am pulled outside, out the door, off the porch and into that patch in front of my house called the "yard";

I am walking in small circles and I'm saying or thinking or thinking I'm saying,

"What is this stuff, what is this stuff, whatisthisstuff, stuff?" even though I know it is snow;

so, I start thinking "why did it have to snow now? Of all times, why did it have to snow now?"

and my footprints are punching holes in the whiteness and I can see the grey and the black

and the dirty brown beneath and I start to feel better right away.

06 August 2009


Could it be considered miraculous if a man were to live in bed for almost 35 years eating precious little but chocolate cake and milk and writing ream after ream of nearly insensible pornography?

And the pounding on the floor,
her ceiling,
for more cake and more Big Chief writing tablets and more pencils and
the odor of sour milk creeps down their parents’ stairs while the miracle pounds on the floor for supplies
and the miracle’s sister stands in the kitchen for just a moment, just the barest sliver of her heart’s beat,
and imagines herself just walking out the back door
and down she’d pass the little shed and through the back gate to the alley and from the alley to the street and,
in that heartbeat’s passing she can imagine
a life complete and full but,
then what?

So, which is more miraculous? A man living in a bed for 35 years, the cake, the milk and the porn or that this same man, out of all the people in the entire history of people, would be related to probably the only person on the planet who would put up with that kind of shit?

(loosely inspired by H.P. Lovecraft)

05 August 2009

To: Those Who Think That Where They Are Is Why They Are

He walks the streets
night lit down
searching for murders
and often finds them
Standing far back to treasure
the jeweled squealings
the liquid blessings
for asphalt and broken glass

Sucking meats from smallish bones
he grins
to remember spare delight
and shuddered tenderness
Grease wanders from his face
and melts again

He washes his hands
in the pools of battery acid and antifreeze
that gather behind the ZipLube on 9th Street
and he knows it is a good place to be
Red and black checkered flannel
is a kind of solace
and the sun that rises behind his eyes
is no less dim than that one, there, on that horizon

(Originally published in Blue Mesa Review, 1992)

04 August 2009

Stephanie Inside the House, in Chains

The apartment looked deceptively small from the street. It had been a store of some kind and then converted into a "living space" by hippie artists years before we ever moved in. It was narrow but very long. Sometimes, it seemed to stretch forever, back and away.

In the morning, sunshine streamed through the plate glass windows that had once been for display. It could become quite warm then and we often left the door open and fresh air would circulate. On the roof, I had built a platform and we would sunbathe there or, at night, listen to the scattered small arms fire from the Valley. One summer night, we made love there while a thief broke in through the back door and stole our television. Stephanie's thighs, coated with her own secretions and my semen, had glistened in the night sky's frantic light.

I built a partition and a sleeping loft under which I placed my desk. I would work into the early morning while Stephanie slept above me and, when I was finished, I would climb up. Sometimes she would almost awaken and murmur strange things in a kind of half-sleep, and I would stroke her cheek or forearm until she turned back to dreams.

We lived there for five years and Stephanie wore her bruises like secret medals. I would sit outside on a kitchen chair with my shirt unbuttoned in the afternoon sun and I would imagine my envelopment within her, imagine my consumption of her, imagine her trembling with anticipation. She would writhe. She would whisper, "I love you. I love you. I love you."

03 August 2009

He Was Sorry.

He was sorry that he had even come over

in the first place.

In the first place, why was he still bothering her?

Next, she had left

her shades up in the window

by the window he had to look through

when he was just ringing her doorbell.

Her breasts were flattened against the table.

Her spine made a convex and then a concave line as it

pushed against the man who pushed inside her.

She didn't even see him at first

and then she did

and then she made a stupid little smile on his face

and waved a little wave with his hand.

She closed her eyes so she wouldn't see him

and the long muscles in her shoulders stood out

when she arched her back

(Originally published in Tyounyi, Santa Fe, New Mexico, 1989)

02 August 2009

The Money Shot

The difference between lovebirds and true lovebirds is a swallow.


If that squall of semen

strung across your face

slantwise from eye-line to jaw-line

isn’t the signature of

your true affection,

then it’s close enough.

It’s close enough for me.

July 19 - August 1

I was away for a family health crisis and cut off from my computer and files.

I now return you to your regularly scheduled blog.

Thank you for your patience and continued patronage.