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Creative writing is the art of communicating ideas, impressions and feelings. With words as our medium, we can tell a story, deliver a sermon, suggest a mood or set a scene. Poetry has various  genres: narrative, lyric, dramatic and prose poems.  There are the relatively new genres of Flash Fiction and Flash Plays.  They very short versions of short stories and drama.  


Type of Writing

Narrative "TallulahFalls" 
Lyric "Measuring the Blood"
ProsePoem "Catacombs"
"Lift Off"
FlashPlays  "StoneCold" 


Narrative poetry tells a story. It has a beginning, middle and end-not necessarily in that order. Because of this structure, you should be able to sense a passage of time. The ending can be either conclusive or open with no resolution.




"Tallulah Falls" 

Old Tallulah Falls stands in a graveyard 
of bare oaks. With calm servility, 
the falling water is iced and stilled. 
In apathy and abatement, the creek 
has lost half its flow. Once my feet slid
like a sled on the ice. My hands reached 
to touch soft clouds of air wandering 
from the mouths of cowed birds. 

This year I press hard against 
the cabin picture window wanting 
the bright, upward childhood ice and flight. 
In a surprising snow, birds glide down 
with unapproachable kindness
in a shape something like charity,
they move smoothly
on the polished disparity 
of the winter sun. 

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Lyric poetry uses one central topic as its theme and is often addressed to the reader. It can be written in a wide range of forms, songs, elegies, ode, etc. They focus on one subject throughout.




"Measuring the Blood"

She is measuring the blood again.

If she could make the blood lighter
the weight of hearts
she could have the bed red
with regret by morning.

If she could cut the flow smaller
the size of drops
she could fit a nine months flood
behind her in a cup.

If she could turn the blood thinner
maybe she could slip
the baby under the mat,
a secret forever.

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The prose poem lies between free verse and prose.  It differs from prose by rhythmic and sound repetitons, intensity of language and has no line breaks.



Do you remember that walk through anonymous bones stacked on both sides of the narrow corridor? Tibias, femurs and clavicles streaked gray and brown, stained by leached water, were heaped in crannied vaults like a calcium reef. How the skulls stared at our warmth and movement! Their void sockets were fountainheads for absolute black and blame. Stairs to the catacombs cut down through limestone bedrock, and the sun spiraled into slow decay as the dip and rise of cobble-steps sharply dropped below the Place Denfert-Rochereau. There, in the time of saints, guildsmen of Paris labored, also anonymous and faithful. For two centuries they built, so penitent, and cathedrals soared of chiseled rock.

Those uneasy rooms behind the wall of bones, remember them, the mute holes that were carved when rock was quarried, now human landfills of nameless bones, at rest, if such a thing is possible, in the rubble? Like dumb pilgrims, we drifted passed wall paintings, fish, lambs and anchors, their hope of resurrection, and kept the silence to confound the devil.

Remember how we moved, following the path between the chambers, the black-rock passage, the manner of our walking, tip-toeing, shuffling, hanging back, always keeping close to the corridor center, sometimes touching the bones to feel the change, smearing our fingers with phosphorous remnants? In the flash photo, the skulls you held in each hand cast a play of shadows, the advance of darkness through cracks coming hard and hollow as each breath. Remember the green fungus flowering seductively, the thick air beneath the earth where bones replace stones, and how we learned heaven is still distant and non-negotiable as ever? 

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Flash Fiction is very short fiction.  It gets right to the meat of the story without a preamble and usually has implied characterization. 






            "LIFT OFF"

The dirt was purple. Honest, Mom. 
Not much of it, just a little patch under the grass.
I did, Mom. I looked for that spot again, but couldn’t find it.
We were at that big field near the stadium, the one where the bulldozers are.
I don’t know how he got there.
Ok, ok, Mom, don’t get excited. Here’s what happened.
We left home on my new bike. 
Mikey climbed up on the table, and I pushed the handlebars close enough.
No, he sat just fine on the handlebars. After all, Mom, he’s not a baby. 
When we got to the field, Mikey hopped off my bike so I could jump a ramp.
I didn’t want to take a chance on his falling when I landed. See how careful I was.
After while, I cruised by to check on Mikey and to wipe off my spokes.
Well, yeah, I used my shirt, but it’s an old one, right? 
Anyway, Mikey was eating dirt. 
It looked purple to me. I think it was magic.
He began to get wider, like a balloon, then he flattened out like a pancake. 
It was really neat. 
No, Mom, honest, I am not making this up.
Well…. I kept wiping off my bike. It had a lot of mud all over it. 
Besides, what could I do?
Soon, Mikey lay spread out on the grass. That’s when it happened.
I am telling you the truth, Mom.
The wind swooped down, and Mikey flew up like a kite. 
No, Mom, he was laughing. Well, it looked like fun to me.
Sure, of course, I ran after him, but he just went higher.
What did I do? 
Well, gosh, I went to get some of that purple dirt. To eat. So I could fly too. You know, go after Mikey.
Yeah, that’s why my face is so dirty, but I never did get stretched out enough, never lifted off.
I don’t know why. I ate a lot of dirt.
No, Mom, I am not making this up. 
The last time I saw Mikey he was sailing over the hill.

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Flash Plays are brief, one act dramas.       

Bone Cold  


MRS. JONES – lovely young widow of wealthy businessman,Emery Jones
MR. WELLS- sales executive of Pict Studio

Setting:  Office at Pict Studio- two chairs & a desk.  Mr. Wells is seated at desk.

Props: Bottle of brandy, glasses and telephone   


Act One:


MR. WELLS: (STANDS) Come in, Mrs. Jones. I am George Wells, your late husband’s consultant here at Pict Studios.

MRS. JONES :(SMIRKS) Well, Mr. Wells. How are you?


MR. WELLS : (CLEARS THROAT) Uh, yes. My condolences on your husband’s passing.

MRS. JONES :(SIMPERS) Thanks, he was a sweet old thing.

MR. WELLS: Er, yes,yes, indeed.(DEEP, SOLEMN VOICE) He was a fine man, a chief of industry, a self-made millionaire. Yes, a fine man. (SLIGHT COUGH) 
Well, now, what can I do for you?

MRS. JONES: I came for my surprise present. The week before he “passed”, Emery had me sign stacks of legal papers (SIGH)-it took forever. (BRIGHTLY) Said I’d have a big surprise after he was gone. 

MR. WELLS:  Present?  Oh, yes, it is like a present. He wanted to be sure you’d be well provided for, just in case. And let me assure you, he got the best money could buy.

MRS. JONES: (CONDESCENDS) Well, of course.

MR. WELLS: (SHUFFLES PAPERS ON DESK)  Let me see….. Here it is, the legal form, all signed and sealed. May I see a driver’s license, to verify your identity? Just a formality. 


MR. WELLS: Ah, yes, a striking photo.  I must admit, I am amazed that you came in on your own.  Would you like to hear the details?

MRS. JONES: (RISES AND WALKS ABSENTLY DOWNSTAGE) Pict Studio, what’s a pict? It sounds like a movie set.

MR. WELLS: Movies? Well uh, we’ve always considered movies, but ……….

MRS. JONES: What is that? (POINTS AT THE AUDIENCE, THE FOURTH WALL OF THE OFFICE) That painting of a blue swordsman on the wall? Is it the studio logo?  Like the MGM lion?


MR. WELLS: (PONTIFICATES) Yes, my dear, the Pict warrior is the company logo. Trouble with people today, we’re too civilized.  We used to be wild Picts- tattooed in blue, the scourge of Britain, as feared as a Druid.  We’d raid shrines; slaughter cattle and when a chief died, we’d bury his wives with him.  We were dangerous, very dangerous. (SADLY) But look at us now- peaceable and proper.

MRS. JONES: Yeah, anyway, about my surprise, I bet it is a screen test for a movie, right? (RISES, PIROUETTES ABOUT THE STAGE) I’ll be stunning, my face will fill the silver screen, be bigger than life. I’ll drink champagne with Brad Pitt and the audience won’t even notice him.(RETURNS TO HER CHAIR)

MR. WELLS: Er... yes, a movie can definitely be shot. 

Now, the details. your late husband came in several weeks ago, gave us your vital statistics-weight, height, heart rate. I must say, he certainly seemed chipper for his age.  Who would have thought he’d slip off that embankment and break his neck!  At least he got his last wish—to be stored in a frozen state.

MRS. JONES: (EXACERBATED SIGH)  Yes, Emery had all sorts of odd ideas. Well, let’s get on with it. I don’t want to hear the details. I am ready for action.

MR. WELLS: (SMILES)  Aren’t you a refreshing change! Usually we have to send an escort.  Will you take brandy, Mrs. Jones?  It’s a seven star import. (POURS A DRINK AND HANDS GLASS TO JONES WHO DRINKS)

MRS. JONES: This has such a bitter taste. I feel a chill down to my bones.(RUBS HER ARMS) Strange, usually brandy warms me up.

Mr.Wells: (SETTLES BACK IN HIS CHAIR)  While we wait, let me sprout just a tad- I am so proud of our company. We have state of the art equipment; a special high tech unit with a battery back-up in case of a power outage.  Our work is guaranteed a minimum of 150 years, and I am proud to say, there is no longer any dizziness.

MRS. JONES: Ok,ok,that sounds fine. I could leave the screen test as a legacy to my fans.

MR. WELLS:  You are something else! No wonder Mr.Jones was so determined.  Alright, I agree. The entire production will be made into a movie, and I personally guarantee global distribution.

MRS. JONES: It must be the excitement, but I feel faint, and so cold that I can barely speak. (SLIPS TO FLOOR, DROPPING GLASS)

MR. WELLS: It is just the sedative in the brandy taking affect, numbing all your motor reflexes. Let me ring down to the cryogenics unit, be sure all is ready, and get someone to video each step. (PAUSE) Usually wives and widows aren’t as eager as you.

(PICKS UP PHONE) Danny, got a client hot to trot. Send up the best gurney, the one with the lilac tubing and find somebody with a camcorder to tape the entire procedure. Yes, I said camcorder. She wants movies. Yep!……… Amazing woman!


Now, now I know it’s thrilling, but you mustn’t try to sit up. Don’t worry, your clothes and jewels will be placed in security storage, and your will is already on file.  Mr. Jones thought of everything.


Well, yes, of course, some clients do seem to feel a bit odd going under but never at all dizzy.


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Poetry and Flash Fiction Links

Arther Rimbaud
A Quick Look at Flash Fiction
Fiction Fix
The Garden of Jorge Luis Borges

Story Starter
Meg's Writing Tips

Sistine Chapel Bulletin Board 
LWW Bulletin Board 

Rhyme and Quotations

Prose Poems 
Prose Poems Archive

Poetry Online

Poetry Room

ZuZu's Petals

Zine Markets  

Recursive Angel

Riding the Meridan 





Melic Review

Moveo Angelus

Disquieting Muse

Doorknobs & BodyPaint
The Green Tricycle


Publishing and Free Programs-see section on Books page

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art on this page by destael


 Copyright 1996, Edited Jan 2006