micro - Fiction 

Page 2.

  Lyrical Passion Poetry E-Zine © 2007-2019

The elephant shifted in the chair and put down his glass of ice tea. He put his two front feet over his eyes and I could see his chest heaving as he tried to hold back his tears.

                “He was such a good friend. He never harmed anything,” he said in a broken voice.

                “I found him in a clearing with half his face sawed off. Half his face gone” and at that he started to cry.

                I didn’t know what to say. There was really nothing I could say to comfort him.  What could I say?

                                                           by Jack Galmitz 

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from Country      by Shelby  Stephenson

Horton Barker did all he could to show the world his love of Child Ballads, though he never met the Harvard professor Francis Child:  I never heard Barker sing, even on record, though his name surfaces, like white caps among the waves of festivals at White Top Mountain, over round Marion, Virginia, 1933, or at the annual University of Chicago Folk Festival, 1961:  after losing his sight to an accident, Barker kept his spirit easing among music’s gardens − Horton Barker, Laurel Bloomery, Tennessee!  Nin and I have several skip-laurels out our bedroom window:  they wave in wind and dream; we thrash around up on our Delicate Balances.  In Laurel Bloomery, Tennessee, Horton Barker stands tall for fireflies:  they speckle dusk’s  chimney, that lofty yard-concerto of mine, flitting and blinking and stirring up trouble for our dog Cricket that tries to snap them in her yip:  she’s scratching the oriental rug under the chaise lounge:  could she be Clyde Beavers if she could write “I’d Rather Fight Than Switch”:  her tail wags to see Molly Bee, real name Molly Beachboard, Tennessee Ernie Ford Show, 1950’s:  Ole Ern, the Tennessee Pea Picker, went out to Hollywood, joining Cliffie Stone and his Orchestra: they made a gusher of a show, Molly Bee, pursing her lips, dancing and shouting on TV: Jimmy Dean, Bob Hope, Jack Benny, Jimmie Rogers (not the brakeman), Roy Rogers, Ed Sullivan, and my favorite of those years, Ernie Ford’s Nighttime Show:  after stints in Vegas, at the Thunderbird, Desert Inn, Flamingo, the Moulin Rouge in L.A., Harrah’s in Reno, the Shamrock, Houston, Crystal Bay Club, and Lake Tahoe, Bee toured Japan, before doing musical comedy in shows like “Paint Your Wagon”:  decades ago I lost her, writing then Country Song Roundup columnist, Bill Anderson − “What happened to Molly Bee?”  “Don’t know,” his reply. Along the way I saw her obit in the paper, saying she was a grandmother − fighting Addictions − turning blue, paying Celebration and Fame no mind.  Wonder scratches her head and loosens her arms instead of  ratcheting down or out or up the world’s whipping post, that snagging, ragged sensation coming on when you come into your favorite room, look for a chair and sit down and wait for poetry’s Clan of Beers to sound the B’s:  Robert “Fiddler” Beers, wife Evelyne Christine, daughter, Martha Christine:  they sang songs like “Sweet Little Jesus Boy,” playing folk festivals in the Midwest, mainly, though I can’t say how their songs swayed and rocked the Newport Festival, 1960’s:  anthologizing their names, I cite them Airy Angels.  A mockingbird just collided with an eastern kingbird:  the Old People said Bee-Martin:  Harry Belafonte, born 1927, a year before my brother Paul:  Belafonte’s an activist for human dignity, a pusher for civility, justice:  I can hear his calypso clearly: “Day-O” (Banana Boat Song), “Matilda,” and “Jamaica Farewell”:  the give and take of culture and music gather his life:  his mother, Jamaican, was so proud of him:  Carl Belew probably wrote “Lonely Street”:  I wonder, though, if Wynn Stewart might have and sold it to Belew for beer-money:  Belew wrote “Stop the World and Let Me Off” − and recorded it − but Johnny and Jack made the hit in ’58. Remember “Am I That Easy to Forget?”  Carl Belew!  I never heard him sing, but I’ve seen his name on lots of songs.  Bounty’s a basket-case or guitar-gig-bag of sorts − with no hasp to clasp.  The narrative goes forward:  spring springs, chickens cackle, bees bumble, most often where the lawnmower collects dust under the shelter and nightbirds drop droppings in troughs of stables where Black and Gray pawed and stomped, pushing their chests against barbed wire, their sanctuary now taken by Scag, Grumman, and the Equator.

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Fred’s ‘Port’      by R.D. Bailey  

Monday, October 14th:

       I, often aimlessly, watched the early morning autumn fog drift by my screened porch like Fred's second-hand smoke. A slight chill would tickle my bare arms as the haloed sun drifted in and out of sight. Fred always offered his last ‘Port’, as he would call them, just when I wasn't in the mood; sitting, with my pencil and pad… writing just another poem on my day off.


tired, old tree trunk
gold and orange fallen leaves
lay before me

       Whenever I heard his screeching patio door slam and his shabby, brown slippers dragging on the ground, I knew that he was off to the corner store to purchase another pack. I would watch him make his way to the corner with his dingy handkerchief dangling from his soiled jean pocket. I, on the other hand, was your typical sporadic smoker. I never wasted my hard-earned dollars on such a harmful investment. Never did mind taking one from Fred though.
    Fred was my newfound friend, although I'd been his neighbor for more than three years; a retiree of Direct Airlines from Savannah, Georgia - so content and quiet. He sat on his porch, puffing pounds and pounds of tobacco a month, smiling at the sun.
I'd almost forget he was there. He'd look up at me with a delighted presence whenever I knocked on his patio door. I could sit with him from the moment the scent of eggs and bacon teased our noses from an open window in the next building, till the crickets hiding in the surrounding darkened bushes began harmonizing. I wouldn't be bored.

       "Here! Have a port, Randy. My last one." Never did mind donating 1 out of 20 as long as I smoked it down to the filter line. I remember how he cringed the first time I extinguished a cigarette of his after smoking only half. I almost felt guilty - like I owed him $0.25. His gray eyes coached me; followed the cigarette between my fingertips from my lips to his ashtray as he listened to the birds sending sing-songs from tree to tree. It seemed important to him like a mother making sure her child cleans their diner plate. I didn't have that constant urge to smoke, but it seemed as though it was all he had. No significant possessions to flaunt, no photo albums to share, no family and no friends ever visited Fred. I don't recall ever seeing the mailman placing mail in Fred's box… and only once had I ever observed him bringing in groceries. His dentures remained a golden brown as if he probably chewed tobacco - the only thing he had a craving to chew on. Yet I never felt sorry for him because he smiled and chuckled sometimes for, what seemed to be, nothing. He was just good old Fred; Frederick Moss.   

Friday, December 1st: 

       My worn dark blue sweater hung over the back of my swivel chair as I gazed down at my wrinkled, pale fingertips while listening to the roar of what sounded like a jet coming in for a landing at Tallahassee Regional. Of course, Fred would have known the model for certain, being a former Direct mechanic.
        He would have shouted, "Seven-thirty-seven…eh, Yes Sir!" from his porch and I would reply, "I knew that, I was just waiting to see if you were still on top of your game, Fred."
        "Man-made eagle. I'd fly me one if I knew how." And this was how Fred and I, how we, spent our days. 

Saturday, December 23rd:

       It seems I must have missed Fred these last few days. It would be good to know that he went to visit family for the holiday. 

Saturday, January 7th:

       Still no sign of Fred; only signs of a bare and aging winter. All I could hear was the early morning winds whistling through my windows and intruding under my front door. I listened - for the planes… among other things as thoughts of my retirement plagued my mind. By the passing of the 6th plane overhead, I was bored of assuming what model soared overhead. I wasn't amused; not without hearing Fred's grimy voice calling out model numbers to me. Where was the toxic stench from the smoke of Fred's Port creeping by my porch to torment my nostrils as I took my first sips of hot raspberry Lipton Tea? I squeamishly squirmed at the thought of not hearing his wheezing cough that he deliberately muffled under an old soiled handkerchief he used to wipe his occasional mucus excretions. I turned my head whenever he spat on the pavement. Those moments seemed painful.

       I rested my mug on the floor, stood up to stretch and strolled over to Fred's porch. I squinted to see past his living room drapes. I could only see one framed picture hanging on his wall. I stepped inside his dusty porch sprinkled with remnants of brown leaves and picked up the only Port resting in his ashtray. I struck a match in the wind gusts - then another and lit the tip as I pointlessly counted my steps back to my porch. I looked back twice at his screen door.
       Well, I sat gazing in the heavy, icy sky blanketed with gray clouds and smoked Fred's Port alone… only because I knew he would have offered me this one… his very last; Newport that is.

(First published in , Chistell Publishing & reprinted in Big Pond Rumours)

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At the British Museum    by Bob Lucky

Standing with his wife before the Rosetta Stone, he realized he'd never decipher his heart. Some languages are better off dead and forgotten, he thought, and left without a word.

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Soap Opera   by Bob Lucky

“I can't,” she said, her face flickering. “I'm so sorry.”
“Don't be. Not much to love, really.” His voice crackled.
“Come back,” I cried, beating the top of the television.

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Compromise  by Bob Lucky
She said she faked it.
“That's okay,” he said. “You're good.”


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