Autumn Song


This is my dream; to walk in a an autumn meadow
With a limitless ceiling of soft blue and a path of browning grass.
Goldenrod and the last daisies swinging and bowing in the breeze,
Inviting me to one last dance before the end.

And I fill my breath with the smell of fallen leaves from the trees ahead
A rare dying sweetness, mixed with earth and the remnants of frost.
Golds, reds and a rare green pressed by passing feet into a mosaic
Richer than carpets in the houses of kings.

Let me follow the clouds of birds scudding home in the southern sky.
I lift my arms to the winds that arise and fly to my imagination.


At night, silence awakens me.
No familiar sound of breath, no shifts,
I struggle not to fall into the
empty space I lie beside.

By day, I am stoic, professional;
Evenings bring doctors and large words
that I nod at and work to understand.
So brave, they think, but I pretend.

And when the door closes I cry
myself empty of my heart’s tears
and sleep, until once more,
silence awakens me.

Look as good you will not

I was never Carrie Fisher/Leia of back in the day. But I’ve also survived getting older and I’m ok with being 54, soon to be 55. Too bad there’s a whole bunch of folks out there who don’t get it.

Red Fork Hippie

“When [59] years old you reach, look as good you will not.”
— Yoda

In case you’ve been under a rock: Fanboy trollgeek jackasses have been inundating Carrie Fisher with unsolicited critiques of her appearance ever since The Force Awakens was released.

Apparently they’re mad because the last time they saw her in a Star Wars flick, she was kicking ass in a metal bikini, and it made them feel funny inside, like when they climbed the rope in gym class. Three decades later, she looks like a grownup, and the fanboys are apoplectic, because this means either A.) they have to quit lusting after Bikini Slave Girl Leia, or B.) they have to admit they’ve spent years cherishing vivid fantasies about a woman who’s old enough to be their mother.

Rather than spend a little more time listening to Fountains of Wayne songs and embracing their inner Benjamin Braddock…

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So Played the Pipes in Arras – (day 11)

I wrote this originally for Jim Bronyaur’s “12 Days of Christmas” in 2010. I thought I’d pass it on, for those serving and those remembering those gone.

12 Days 2010!


 Janet Lingel Aldrich

Harry McDonald shuffled down the hall to answer the door. He found his regular mail carrier with an oblong box in hand. “Good morning, Mr. McDonald! Ready for Christmas?”

Taking the box, he raised a bushy eyebrow. “Happen I am, lass. Happen I am.” He put the box on the nearest flat surface and took the clipboard he was offered. “Where do I sign, then?”

After he closed the door, Harry stared at the box for a long time before picking it up.  I know what it is and I know what it means. Bloody hell. And at Christmas of all times. He was expecting his grandson any day, home from Afghanistan on furlough. I’ll put it aside for now.

As he passed down the hallway, he searched through the framed pictures on the wall and stopped at one of them. He ran…

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#threewordwednesday (a day late), 3/19/2014, (fiction)

Authentic, Enlist, Phobia

When Jeff turned 3, his mother decided he was too big for a nightlight. Even the fact that he whimpered every night for a week, only dozing occasionally and clutching his security blanket, didn’t move her.

He tried to enlist his father’s help, but his father traveled as a salesman and he came home tired, only wanting peace and quiet. Jeff staggered back in shock when his father slapped him. “You’re too big to be such a baby!  Do what your mother says!” This was followed by the clink of ice in his father’s bourbon glass and the roar of the crowd at some sporting event or other.

The little boy went to bed with a red mark on his face and a teddy bear with a very soggy head. Again, he huddled under his blanket, muttering can’tseehimcan’tseemei’msafeifican’tseehim over and over about the Thing in his closet and jumping at every unexplained sound.

He never outgrew his fear of the dark — by the time he was a teen it was an authentic, full-blown phobia. He went from room to room, turning off lights only after another light was on. No one complained; these days, his mother was more interested in examining the inside of a bottle than in what her son was doing. His father had met some woman (“some floozy!” as his mother said) on a sales trip five years back and never returned.

One night, his mother having gone to Bingo, he was in the kitchen, making himself a little supper. He started into the hall and flicked the light on. Behind him, he heard a “click” and turned to see that the kitchen light, which he had unintentionally left on, was now off.

He reached back into the kitchen, unnerved, and turned it back on. He was halfway down the hall when he heard the click again. This time, there was also a stealthy scuffling sound.

Jeff didn’t go back to the kitchen. Instead, he walked more rapidly to reach the dining room. Just as he turned on that light, there was another click and the hallway went dark around him. The fork on the plate he was carrying rattled.

He flipped the hall light back on. It went off. He turned it on again.  Another click, and darkness.

The plate smashed on the floor as Jeff dropped it. He ran for the living room and lit it in short-lived relief.

*Click* Darkness in the dining room.  Jeff sprinted for the stairs, fumbling for the switch that led upstairs.  He took the stairs two at a time.  Under the sound of his rasping, rattling breath, he heard an eerie little giggle.  He didn’t look back to see what was laughing.Can’tseehimcan’tseeme-i’msafeifican’tseehim – Jeff gasped his childhood mantra as he staggered to the top of the stairs.

*ClickLight on in the hallway.

*Click* Light off on the stairs.

*Click* Light on in the bedroom.

Jeff slammed the door behind him, hurdled the footboard on his bed and tunneled under the covers. Can’tseehimcan’tseeme-i’msafeifican’tseehim. Can’tseehimcan’tseeme-i’msafeifican’tseehim.

*Click* The light from the hallway, showing under the bedroom door, disappeared.

Can’tseehimcan’tseeme-i’msafeifican’tseehim. Can’tseehimcan’tseeme-i’msafeifican’tseehim. He was silenced by the sound of the latch, loud in the sudden stillness, and the squeal of the door opening.

For just a moment, Jeff peered out from under the blanket. The light in his room glistened off the polished pointed nails on the misshapen hand that slid into the open door, seeking the light switch.



Lock and Key #poetry 2/22/2013

The world turns too fast for  me to see;
Light chases shadow chases light
Sliding patterns and snapshots of time
Too many to catalog

So here in this fluid moment of time
well wishes all around but not yours
conspicuous by its absence
And this is enough

You were an inadvertant pickpocket
Stole this small part of me
you didn’t know and didn’t want it
No collector of bagatelles

I’ll return the favor – filch it back
In the interests of security
Behind this facade, lock it away
Never to be taken again.

“On a Full Moon” – Lucky 7 Post

I was tagged by Tony Noland to participate in a fun lucky seven post. I’m borrowing the rules from Tony (thanks, Tony):

1. Go to page 77 in your current manuscript
2. Go to line 7
3. Copy down the next seven lines as they are – no cheating
4. Tag 7 other authors (Done on Facebook)

This is from my Nano WIP from 2010, On a Full Moon (it has nothing to do with werewolves, btw!) which I have finally tugged out of obscurity and begun to edit.

“As we came into the foyer, a woman in Colonial dress handed us
both brochures and asked if we wanted a guided tour. Luc,
all wide-eyed innocence, and sporting an accent you could
cut with a knife, explained that I was local and that he,
coming from out of the area, would rely on me to translate
Harton County history to him. I had a tough time keeping a
straight face as the poor woman …”

Eternal Justice (A Halloween Drabble)

I looked at the elderly couple in front of me with regret.  “I’m sorry, Mr. and Mrs. Edwards. I tried to contact you and couldn’t. Your nephew is probably going to get away with what he took.”

“It’s all right, Detective. We were out of touch.” Mr. Edwards reached over and squeezed his wife’s hand. They exchanged a smile, and the old man continued. “And don’t worry about our nephew – he’s not out of the reach of all justice.”

“Yes, indeed,” his wife agreed, as the two of them faded into transparency and then disappeared from before my astonished eyes.