A Kiss in Your Pocket: Pocket-Sized Love Poetry (#AtoZChallenge Theme Reveal)

So . . .

I’m sure you’re wondering . . .

Where the hell I’ve been . . .

The short answer . . . Getting my life together.

You’ve got to check in on us millennials every once in a while, you know. We’re quickly approaching 30, and we are not okay. 

The real answer . . . I really haven’t been writing much of anything lately. I don’t know how to explain it, but it’s been so hard for me to write. Call it fear of failure, fear of success, lack of fresh ideas, writer’s block, an aversion to reading words on the computer because it already consumes my days at the 9-to-5—honestly, I don’t know why. I tried to figure it out in this post, but still, there’s really no straight answer. So, I’ve just been away.

But the good news is I’m back. And it’s no coincidence that it’s just in time for the A to Z Challenge, either. I’ve always enjoyed participating in this challenge, and if anything is going to force me to climb out from underneath my rock, it’s being challenged to write a new post every day (except on Sundays) for 26 days for each letter of the alphabet.

So, without further ado, let’s get into this very late theme reveal, shall we?

A Kiss in Your Pocket: Pocket-Sized Love Poetry

Maybe you’ve noticed my love haiku and love tankas that I post periodically on this blog?

I’ve always loved the Japanese poetry form, and the short love poem is something I’ve always enjoyed writing. Like a little note you’d write to a lover and leave for them to discover on their desk, or chair, or pillow just to surprise them and show how much you care for and cherish them.

So I had an idea, a few years back, of publishing some of my favorite love haiku and tankas in a chapbook . . . a chapbook of short love poems—pocket-sized ones, as the title suggests. I think the idea of A Kiss in Your Pocket was first inspired by my studies of early African American poet George Moses Horton, who sold personalized love poems to students for 25 to 75 cents apiece. I imagined him walking the streets around campus, a pocket full of scribblings of short love poems on paper. Passing them along to lovesick students for a couple of cents, who would then share them with loved ones and friends.

So here is my pocket full of love poems to you. However, to make things a little interesting, I just don’t want to write a poem to a lover, I want that lover to respond. So, I’ll be experimenting with two different kinds of Japanese poetry forms, ones specifically meant to be written between lovers: the sedoka (a pair of 5-7-7 or 5-7-5 syllable katauta, or half-poems that act as a question and answer conversation between lovers) and the somonka (two tankas written as two love letters between lovers).

Starting tomorrow, I’ll post the first half of the sedoka or somonka (the call), and the next day, I’ll post the lover’s response, continuing from A to Z. At the end of the month, I’ll have 13 pairs of pocket-sized love poems!

I hope you’ll enjoy them. And if you think I should definitely move forward with that chapbook idea, please leave me a comment below. Encouragement is the best motivation. 🙂

Nortina

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The Struggle Is Real

I’m struggling, y’all. Struggling to find inspiration. Struggling to write something worth reading. Struggling to write anything that won’t get decimated when my trigger-happy finger presses the backspace key. I can’t even think of a good Monday’s #1MinFiction prompt. Hence why there hasn’t been one for the last two weeks.

I guess I’ve been busy. I got a new job editing “science-y” articles. I’m not a “science-y” person, and the “science-y” lingo is frying my brain. Who knows if that’s the true reason for this current bout with writer’s block, but that’s the excuse I’m going with for now.

Then again, I don’t really want to use it as an excuse, because I actually like my job… A LOT. Some nights, I sit up and think, “Wow, I actually made it. I actually found a job in my field. And it has benefits. Paid vacation. Paid holiday. An optional work from home week for the Fourth of July! All that money I wasted, er, paid (am still paying) for a degree actually means something now! Shoot, maybe I’ll get my degree framed. Maybe I’ll hang it up on the wall!” And it’s nights like those when I feel most inspired to write again, and I post encouraging tidbits like this.

But the fiction has been few and far between, the poetry even less. I don’t know why that is, I don’t know why the creativity in me is so spent, especially when the ideas have all been there. It’s the writing, the writing . The turning it into an actual story or poem, a piece of art (because what are writers if not artists?) that just can’t come together for me.

Recently, I received an email from Camp NaNoWriMo. Yes, camp is starting again, and I want to use this year’s camp to find my drive for writing again. Writing something, anything, even if it’s just 100 words a day, even if those 100 words are total rubbish, at least they’ll be rubbish that I wrote and rubbish that I was confident enough about to hit publish for. And no, I won’t wait until to July to get started. Any more waiting, and I’ll just talk myself right out of doing. I’ve been talking myself out of doing a lot of things for far too long. That ends today…

#AtoZChallenge A Drabble for a Tag: Conclusion – X, Y, and Z

X Marks the Spot

Mel

“I think, therefore I am.” Five little words to explain human existence. It’s become my mantra as I meander down the empty road.

I am still flesh, blood, bone; still mind coherent; still…human.

Carol didn’t give me a chance to explain. But she still. I saw a man in the car with her before it sped off, which can only mean Mr. one-night-stand with the Victorian era house is real.

See, I remember. Humanity still exists in me.

When I get there, I’m not alone. Others like me—humans still—surround the house, all interested in the treasure hidden inside.


YOLO

They’re chained to the wall—mere inches from each other—Grace and the woman I thought I saw him murder…

Except, they’re different. Pallid, rotten skin. Moaning incoherently…

“I thought I could use Grace to save the ones that don’t turn back in the day…” he says.

Is that what Mel has become? I wonder.

He points to the woman. “What you saw me stab her with was a serum.”

At the restaurant, she was beautiful—flushed cheeks, hair the color of sand, deep brown eyes—I was envious of her. “So it works!”

He shakes his head. “Only temporarily.”


Zombie Apocalypse

Mel for only half a day? Can our friendship withstand it?

No time to wonder. There’s a clawing and ripping at wood. The drain of color in his face and eyes tells me what we both fear, and when the basement door is ripped open and flung to the bottom of the staircase, he slams the door to our tiny room and locks it.

But are we really safe? Confined in this tight space with two hungry zombies while an army beats tirelessly on the other side.

Hours from morning, and even then, only two of them will become human…

—Nortina


The A to Z Challenge is over, and today is actually reflection day, but I still have to finish my 26 drabbles (100-word stories) using some of my favorite unused or underused tags.

Today’s conclusion was brought to you by the tags, “X marks the spot,” “Yolo,” and the tag that inspired the whole story, “zombie apocalypse.”

I hope you enjoyed! I left the ending open ended intentionally. Do they survive? do they day? Interpret it how you will.

#AtoZChallenge A Drabble for a Tag: Werewolf

“I was a doctor before Grace,” he says.

Grace, who is real. An elderly woman who came to his office on day with a dire problem.

“I thought it was an advanced form of dementia. Then she invited me down here—” We stand in front of the obscure door at the back of the basement, where he finally acknowledges the knocking that has haunted me since I was last here.

“I watched her transform.”

“Into what?”

“They’re like werewolves,” he says, “except instead of a full moon, it’s every night. And they’re still—”

“Human?”

He nods. “At least, a version…”

—Nortina


The A to Z Challenge is back, and this year, I’m giving you 26 drabbles (100-word stories) using some of my favorite unused or underused tags.

OK, so I fell behind, but I won’t leave you hanging! Thursday’s tag was “werewolf.”

Stay tuned for the conclusion, “X,” “Y, and “Z” tomorrow!

#AtoZChallenge A Drabble for a Tag: Vulture

Mel

The high doesn’t last.

Yes, in that way it is like sex. The pleasure shoots you to the moon—until you orgasm, come crashing down, back to earth, where you roll over and realize the man lying in your bed is a rotting corpse.

A zombie.

Or vulture, as they prefer. It sounds less “Night of the Living Dead,” less “Give me your brains.” Although, we still want brain…

After he’s had his fill, he leaves with half my spleen and small intestines dangling from his mouth.

All I can think about is what to eat next…

or who…

“Carol.”

—Nortina


The A to Z Challenge is back, and this year, I’m giving you 26 drabbles (100-word stories) using some of my favorite unused or underused tags.

Today’s tag was “vulture.”

Stay tuned for “W” tomorrow!

#AtoZChallenge A Drabble for a Tag: U.S. Army

He’s not hysterical like me, ready to call the police, the national guard, the army…

My mind races a mile a minute with scenarios as I wrap the towel around my torso, hands shaking. Are there more out there like Mel? Is this an epidemic? Who else knows?

His face remains expressionless, a mild contentment, as if he’s unsurprised, as if he already knows what’s coming.

Finally I ask him who he is. I ask him about Grace, the house, the dead woman in his trunk. His answer is even more terrifying.

“She’s not dead,” he says. “Well, not completely.”

—Nortina


The A to Z Challenge is back, and this year, I’m giving you 26 drabbles (100-word stories) using some of my favorite unused or underused tags.

Tuesday’s tag was “u.s. army.”

Stay tuned for “V” later tonight!

#AtoZChallenge A Drabble for a Tag: Til Death Do Us Part

If you’ve been following this series since the beginning, then you know I opened it with a scene that left you (and even me) with a lot of questions. Since then, the story has slowly started to come together as I’ve picked up the pieces of the puzzle that led to that infamous shower scene (B through S). Now we’re back at the beginning, continuing where “A is for Accessory to Murder” left off…

“Carol.”

I don’t respond. Am I safer with him on the other side of this shower curtain?

Then I see Mel, a shadow of her former self, alive but not, inviting me to taste her…

This is far less gruesome.

Suddenly the curtain is ripped back, the rails screeching like nails against metal in agony. I slip and reach for anything to break my fall. He snatches up my arms, puts them at my sides, looks me over, spins me around.

“What the hell—”

“I’m making sure you haven’t been bitten or scratched.”

“Why?”

But I already know the answer.

Nortina


The A to Z Challenge is back, and this year, I’m giving you 26 drabbles (100-word stories) using some of my favorite unused or underused tags.

Today’s tag was a bit of a stretch: “til death do us part.”

Stay tuned for “U” tomorrow!

#AtoZChallenge A Drabble for a Tag: Serial Killer

“Her eyes were dead.”

That’s what I say when I get into the car, when I run back to the serial killer.

Mel was lying on the floor, in a pool of blood, and the man—her date?—was on top of her, eating her.

“He was fucking eating her!!”

I couldn’t hold still to dial 9-1-1.

When she moved. When she raised her hand, called my name. When she pushed him aside, stood with her guts spilling out, and said, “Come and try.”

I panicked. I ran. Back into the arms of the serial killer.

Just like in my dream.

—Nortina


The A to Z Challenge is back, and this year, I’m giving you 26 drabbles (100-word stories) using some of my favorite unused or underused tags.

Today’s tag is “serial killer.”

Stay tuned for “T” on Monday!

#AtoZChallenge A Drabble for a Tag: Rebirth

Mel

I’m hungry.

I lost my appetite at dinner, but it’s come back now. As he kisses me lower, that familiar song runs through my head…

I didn’t know that I was starving ’til I…

“How do I taste?”

He doesn’t speak.

I don’t feel like I’m in my skin. I look down; he’s biting my thigh. I think it tickles. Yes, I like it. I want to bite him too, make him feel like his skin is coming off, like mine, unveiling a new layer, a rebirth.

Who knew this would be better than sex?

I have to tell Carol.

—Nortina


The A to Z Challenge is back, and this year, I’m giving you 26 drabbles (100-word stories) using some of my favorite unused or underused tags.

Today’s tag is “rebirth.”

Stay tuned for “S” tomorrow!

#AtoZChallenge A Drabble for a Tag: Question

He agrees to take me home.

He just confessed to murdering multiple women….

And he agrees to take me home.

What is it about me that has spared my life? What am I to him but a drunken one-night stand? A mistake, given my history. And yet, he seems suspiciously protective of me.

I give him Mel’s address. Mainly because I don’t want him to know where I live, but also because I fear I may invite him in if he were at my doorstep.

Even with a body in the trunk.

Maybe Mel was right about my self-destructive habits.

—Nortina


The A to Z Challenge is back, and this year, I’m giving you 26 drabbles (100-word stories) using some of my favorite unused or underused tags.

Today’s tag is “question,” because I don’t have many “Q” tags. 😀

Stay tuned for “R” tomorrow!